William Shrikker Group
What is the William Schrikker Group?
The William Schrikker Group (WSG) is a specialised institution in the Netherlands, that works for children and parents with disabilities and/or a chronic illness who need protection and support. The Group’s activities involve the areas where youth and handicapped care interface.
The William Schrikker Group provides Youth Protection, Youth Probation and Foster Care for children who are placed under court-ordered supervision orders or guardianships or are given a youth probation order. In addition to these departments the William Schrikker Group consists of the Expertise Centre William Schrikker which provides and develops special expertise and education in the field of youth care and handicapped care.
The WSG gives support to 10.000 children (average) and the total number of employees is around 1000. William Schrikker Youth Protection (WSYP) implements 20% (= around 8.000) of all national child protection measures.
The Beginning of our Signs of Safety Journey
During the last five years some employees participated in Signs of Safety training. They all were very motivated about Signs of Safety: “that’s the way we want to do our work”. In the beginning of 2012 the organization made the decision to enrich the Dutch method for Youth Protection (called Delta Method) with Signs of Safety. We received a subsidy from the Ministry of Safety and Justice to develop and implement “Further Development Delta”. The core of the plan is to enrich the Delta Method with Signs of Safety and the system approach, and to reinforce the programme’s integrity. Project results are achieved by means of further development of the content, training focused on improving the attitudes of family supervisors, and guaranteeing this through the deployment of practical coaches.
The subsidy is intended to develop and carry out the enriched method in four teams, 400 cases, in two years. The family supervisors and practice leaders in these teams (80 persons) received basic training, in-depth training, group supervision and consults with Andrew Turnell. We also have the advantage to work with Joke Wiggerink and Manna van ‘t Slot, business manager and licensed trainer and colleagues from a partner agency in the Netherlands.
Requirement in relation to the subsidy is that we have to monitor the number and duration of the supervision orders and out-of-home placements and that a scientific committee supports the project.
The first quantitative results show that the number of out-of-home placements declines and more supervision orders are closed faster. With the first results new questions arise. At this moment we work on a design to expand our research about the active factors of the enriched work with children and parents with disabilities.
We are implementing Signs of Safety at two different speeds. Next to the subsidy-part, 90% of the employees participated in a basic Signs of Safety training by Andrew Turnell. All their practice leaders followed a one day in-depth training and are participating in working sessions, lead by Manna van‘t Slot, once every three months.
The Journey Continues
The subsidy-project will end in April 2014. Family supervisors and their practice leaders are ‘embracing’ the work in Further Development Delta. That is caused by several factors, but especially because of the partnership with parents, the emphasis on the ownership by the parents, the focused risk-assessment that leads to the ‘bookends’ danger statements – safety goals, powerful tools, which are very helpful for the help and support of children and parents with disabilities and the learning culture within our organization.
At this moment we are designing a plan to broaden the enriched approach within the whole organization, starting January 2014.