Photo by Michael Burrows
Our third PR intends to develop a practical tool to help professionals to engage all families and to raise awareness on the need of increasing the number of foster carers as a strategy towards deinstitutionalization. Based on the results obtained from PR1 and PR2, this tool will help professionals through comprehensive information and high-impact family engagement activities, to awaken social awareness and to encourage social solidarity and responsibility among all members of the community.
So we put the tool to test and organised validation workshops with professionals.
As you will see below, the tool was generally well received and the participants had valuable feedback and recommendations for the Creating Care partnership, which will help us improve and create a better result.
Participants profile: 7 participants, specialized or educational educators, international project coordinators and an intern.
Although these professionals do not work directly with foster families, they work with unaccompanied minors daily and are therefore familiar with their needs and their expectations of living with a foster family.
The participants appreciated the workshop and the project, which they found very innovative.
Regarding the tool, they recommended to include discussion on topics like:
· Administrative procedures imposed on unaccompanied minors
· Describe the advantages of hosting an unaccompanied minor and set limits
The professionals think that this tool is very interesting and innovative and that they will be able to use it with the volunteer foster families with whom they already work. They think that the activities are fun and provide the keys to training foster families.
However, they think that the topic of unaccompanied minors is not covered in sufficient depth in the tool. It would be interesting to add the points about unaccompanied minors and to talk about the professionals who will help support these foster families and young unaccompanied minors.
Participants profile: 14 professionals, social workers, counsellors, psychologists, head of maternal assistance service.
The overall impression is positive on the project as a whole. For the Family Involvement Tool, the professionals present were sceptical about the context in which it can be used, given that the institutions they come from already have protocols in place regarding communication and recruitment of foster families (maternal assistants).
The feedback from completing the evaluation questionnaire reflects that the tool needs improvement particularly in clarifying the context in which it can be used by child protection professionals.
Other comments to consider pointed out that the tool has an idealistic vision, the myths presented in the Myth Box activity are actually realities unfortunately, which represent real challenges for professionals.
The main conclusion for the interpretation of the collected feedback is that the tool must have a clearer context of its use and a more accentuated component of awareness and communication.
Participants profile: 6 participants, 3 social workers & 3 psychologists.
Overall, as strengths they highlighted the fact that the tool gathers enough and essential information that is not accessible elsewhere.
As weaknesses they mentioned that they would like to see more practical examples of how to handle difficult cases that actually may occur in a foster family.
Lastly, on improvements & suggestions, they mentioned that it would make the Tool even more holistic to mention «foster parent education support programmes” before and during fostering care that are available right now in the country and that always helps in projects like this (CreatingCare) to have public authorities participating in the development, as those are responsible on the subject in question and the information always starts from them.
Participants profile: 6, four social workers and two psychologists.
The overall assessment of the tool is positive. All participants agree that it is a user-friendly tool, the activities are intuitive, understandable and really easy to carry out.
Regarding sustainability they said:
"the tool goes straight to the point: raising awareness among families"
"the tool responds perfectly to a need that we feel strongly, which is to involve potential foster families".
Regarding feasibility and acceptability, the participants commented that "it is a challenge for potential foster parents; therefore, we must aim to solicit them"; "adaptable to every different cultural and social context".
About the accuracy, some participants commented as follows: “It is essential that the tool is concrete, placed in the context and above all accurate, practical, not far from reality"; "the activities of the tool are beneficial for professionals and stakeholders"; "the tool is functional to the activity that we professionals we carry out".