The best Gathering yet!

From 24-26 October 2017 we saw the first International Gathering to be held in Missouri, where their state-wide implementation of Signs of Safety is into its third year. This marked the first time an International Gathering held in North America has moved outside of Minnesota, a state that has provided such a marvelous home for Signs of Safety over the years. The theme for this gathering was celebrating everyday successes. In our challenging work, we all need to be reminded to keep doing so.

Above: Participants at the 11th International Signs of Safety Gathering

We saw five presentations from Missouri, all capturing substantial depth in practice. Throughout the Gathering practice themed presentations showed us the importance of using a family’s naturally connected network to keep children safe. Presentations about the work of indigenous people also showed how important safety, healing and belonging are within the community. Kevin Campbell from Family Finding spoke eloquently to the importance and urgency of networks for healing beyond achieving immediate safety.

There were a number of presentations focused on implementation. Missouri and Ireland spoke about statewide and national implementations while the large jurisdiction of Toronto spoke about the importance of the cultural shift and leadership, and put the challenge as to whether Apple or Google would request rather than require their staff to work the way the organisation has chosen. Joke Wiggerink and Terry Murphy presented on the recent developments in the Signs of Safety implementation framework.

Videos with families and networks showed how Signs of Safety had helped them, and there was even a family and their network live on stage, (after an eight-hour drive from Minnesota) to talk about their experiences! A couple of presentations were about applying the work with teenagers.

Undoubtedly a highlight of this event were the two presentations from Cambodia that showed how the model is being used both with families and adapted for community work in the developing world.

This was absolutely the best gathering so far (as each should be)! Many presentations brought the whole audience to tears because of the strengths of the workers and the beauty of the work.

We’ve set the bar high for the next International Gathering in Ireland (6–8 November 2018).

Did you miss out on attending this years gathering? You can watch the presentations here. Presentations are still being edited so not all are available right now but check back soon, they will all be available by the end of December.

All presentations will be freely available to watch on for three months. Following that, five presentations will be selected to remain available for two years. All the presentations from Kansas City as well as past International Gatherings are always available through organisational access to the Signs of Safety Knowledge Bank.