Devon’s approach to Restorative Practice is about supporting strong, meaningful, trusting, and respectful relationships, and repairing relationships when risk, challenge or harm arises that impacts on the wellbeing of children.
Relationships, that are built on trust and respect, are at the heart of creating lasting, positive change in people’s lives. By working with children and families, and offering high support and high challenge, we can empower them to unlock the strengths and values they hold as individuals and as a family. The aim of working restoratively is for children, young people, and their families to be happier, healthier, and safer together.
We want this to become our way of being, and to think, act and be restorative every day. Restorative Devon is a key part of our commitment to being a child friendly Devon that is inclusive and anti-racist.
A restorative approach to making change happen
Restorative practice is about helping families achieve their goals, creating and sustaining positive change for their children. Change is rarely a linear process but can happen through incremental steps. Crucial to providing effective support to families is the ability to offer help and support along the way, understanding the cycle of change, as well as promoting understanding of what needs to happen from the point of view of the child. Being able to describe the child’s perspective is powerful when preventing or repairing harm to a child, because in most cases parents recognise and respond to this, when it is grounded in real life experience.
Our ambition is for everyone who works with children and families to be able to follow a consistent restorative way of working which is guided by our core principles and values and informed by evidence-based approaches.
Consistency does not mean rigidity; our approach is designed to be adaptable and flexible to respond to individual need but is centred on a restorative value base. This will enable practitioners to exercise skilled professional judgement to do the right thing, to provide effective help and support, to clarify the values of the organisation and have the courage to be creative when they must balance difficult and demanding decisions that affect the lives of children.
The Five Rs
The ‘Five Rs’ (above) are the principles that make up our Restorative Practice framework. It is a guide for how we want to be and act as professionals whose role and responsibility it is to protect children and young people and promote their best interests. Far from being a prescriptive and rigid set of guidelines or standards, our Framework sets out the common principles which underpin our work.
It also provides a toolkit of evidence-based techniques to help put restorative principles into practice. Taken together, the principles and toolkit equip and enable practitioners to apply their skills, knowledge and experience and do what they came into their profession to do. The people who work with children and families are the foundation of a Restorative Devon.
The Five Rs are:
We are: Trustworthy
We will: Build trust and confidence by being transparent and consistent
We are: Caring
We will: Use language that cares, and everyone understands
We are: Collaborative
We will: Work together to create shared solutions
We are: Participatory
We will: Put the views and interests of children and families at the heart of all levels of decision-making.
We are: Honest
We will: Communicate clearly and openly
We are: Inclusive
We will: Respect the characteristics and backgrounds of children and young people
We are: Empowering
We will: Build on existing strengths and enable families and children and young people, to have control, freedom, and responsibility over their own lives so that positive change is lasting
We are: Informed
We will: Make sure decision-making and planning is evidence-informed, and timely
We are: Risk-aware
We will: Safety planning and risk management that is based in the reality of family life
We are: Trauma-informed
We will: Be trauma and shame-informed and person centred
We are: Curious
We will: Ask curious questions about risk, need and strengths with equal balance
We are: Patient
We will: Understand that sustainable change takes time
We are: Flexible
We will: Use professional judgement, in a context of ‘safe uncertainty’ and ‘authoritative doubt’
We are: Responsive
We will: Thinking together about what needs to happen next
We are: Outcomes-focused
We will: Be clear about what good outcomes for children will be