Guest post

by Gavin Redhead, Blackburn with Darwen Council

The use of the Leapfrog tool ‘Target Control’ recently helped change the life of a six-​year-​old, who had recently lost their Mother. 

A family were referred for a Family Group Conference (FGC) by Children’s Social Care to look at contact arrangements for the family members of a child, who is aged 6 years. The child had been residing with a family member since mum passed away 12 months ago. Since moving in with the family member the paternal side of the family had raised concerns to the Social Worker about the level of contact they were allowed. The paternal aunt and a family friend were both saying they had been significant people in the child’s life before the child’s mum passed away and they wanted contact arrangements increased. The aim of the family conference was to bring the family together to see if the issue around contact could be resolved in the best interests of the child.

As part of the preparation for the FGC, the child was seen alone in school in order to explore who they would like contact with. To engage the child in these discussions the FGC Coordinator & the Participation Officer for Children’s Services adapted the Leapfrog Target Control tool to allow the child to talk openly about family and friends they wanted contact with. During the session the child failed to identify the aunt or family friend as people that were significant. The information the child provided would now become crucial to the decision as to whether an FGC was required.

Following the session with the child the FGC Coordinator met with the young person’s Social Worker, Play Therapist & Carer to share the child’s views. The information that was provided by the child directly influenced the carer and professionals in deciding the FGC wouldn’t go ahead.

The child’s views, which were documented on the Target Control tool, influenced who the child had contact with, as well as helping to make other positive steps for resolving family issues and improving the child’s transition into a new home.

The child’s views, which were documented on the Target Control tool, have now influenced who they live with, as well some other positive steps for resolving family issues and improving their transition into a new home.