I am a team leader with a Family Meeting Service in Northern Ireland and we use One Page Profiles as a core element in our practice with families to support their decision-making.
Our service strives to give vulnerable children, young people and their families a greater say in their lives when statutory services need to intervene. We do this using Person-Centred practices along with other restorative approaches such as Family Group Conference, Restorative Mediation and Map/Path Planning.
The values of ensuring that the person is held at the centre of whatever you do and seeing things from their perspective is the lens from which I view any aspect of my working life and personal life. I have found that the values of respect, accepting people for who they are and empowerment are core to working with people in general and not specific to Social Work.
In ensuring that the child or young person has a voice in family meetings I have introduced One Page Profiles where appropriate, and where the child, young person and/or parent gives their permission to share this at the meeting.
One Page Profiles are a means of sharing key information about who the child or person is and what matters most to them; these have been developed from Essential Lifestyle Planning a method of practice underpinned by Person Centred Thinking and practices.
I consider that the knowledge skills and values drawn from Person Centred Thinking has enabled me to be a more restorative practitioner. In any conversation I automatically seek out what others like and admire about the person as well as what matters to them and what others need to know or do to best support the person.
Using the profile to resolve difficulties
One of our team were working with two young boys; their parents were estranged and living in the same small village. The paternal and maternal families were in conflict and the boys were caught in the middle, unsure as to whom they could speak to and whom to avoid. They were conflicted and it was having a negative impact on their health, education and relationships.
Work was undertaken with the parents and conversations started with the wider family in the process of planning a Family Group Conference. Both parents and family members felt awkward but the turning point came when the focus was on the boys and putting together a One Page Profile for each of them.
Having a focus on what everyone loved and admired about them as individuals and acknowledging the things that mattered to them became a shared conversation. It was no longer “their side” and “our side” but “our children and our nephews and grandsons”. Gathering information about the small details allowed for more in-depth conversations around how the boys had been feeling and what they were missing out on with their aunts, uncles and cousins. The parents softened their stance and the coordinator facilitated conversations with their father about what the boys did with mummy’s family and vice versa.
The resulting profiles were shaped and ‘owned’ by the boys and their parents and grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. The coordinator worked with the boys to ensure that visually they represented their personalities and that they would be proud to share them with their family circle.
I continue to have positive feedback from family members and coordinators about the positive contribution that One Page Profiles have in increasing understanding of the child or young person or vulnerable adult.
As a service we developed conversation prompt cards to encourage the use of person-centred thinking in the process of working with families (see picture 2). We also support all team members to have One Page Profiles to share with families and other team members in a move to lessen the divide between professional and family. In addition to this we have a team One Page Profile that acknowledges what matters to the team as a whole and how we can best work together.
In a recent TedX, Self-managed Teams: An insider’s story Helen Sanderson the lead consultant for Person Centred Thinking in the UK talked about bringing your whole self to work. Introducing Team One page Profiles is one way of doing this.
If you would like to know more about One Page Profiles a great way to start is by doing one for yourself; you can follow the guidance in the link below.
Getting them right:
With over 40 years working in Social Work and Social Care as a social worker, Julie Allen considers that she has had a rich working background across both children and adult services. Julie is a team leader with a Family Meeting Service in Northern Ireland and we use One Page Profiles as a core element in our practice with families supporting decision-making. Person Centred Thinking Practice insists that the worker has their own experience of this approach and her own profile is included at the end of the blog.
Julie can be contacted at Julsallen60@gmail.com