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Building Better Futures – Improving outcomes for families and children

Photo of Health and Social Care staff and University staff attending the Building Better Futures seminar.
Back (l-r): Donna Dugan (SEHSCT ) ; Dr Una Lernihan (HSCB) ; Prof Stan Houston (QUB /Trinity) ; Catherine Cooke (NHSCT) ; Julie McGrath (SHSCT) Front L-R: Dr Lorna Montgomery (QUB) ; Helen Dunn( HSCB) ; Sinead Keown (BHSCT) ; Dr Mandi MacDonald (QUB) ; Dairine Mooney (WHSCT)

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is committed to developing social work practice and finding new ways of working with families and children to improve outcomes for them.

The Building Better Futures (BBF) project is having a significant impact on practice and helping to transform the way in which social services in family and child care is delivered across Northern Ireland.

Parenting can bring many challenges. When placed in the context of austerity and welfare changes it leaves many families struggling to cope.

Developing relationships with parents, appreciating the context in which they live and understanding the needs of children is crucial in this work. That is why the HSCB is so keen to support and develop good social work practice.

Developing a range of tools for professionals is a key element of the Building Better Futures project.

A key part of this initiative has been the partnership between academic colleagues, practitioners at the frontline and the implementation provided by HSCB.

At a recent BBF seminar, Director of Social Care and Children, Marie Roulston, commended colleagues Prof Stan Houston, Dr Lorna Montgomery and Dr Mandi MacDonald, as well as the seminar practitioners from each of the Trusts, for all they have accomplished in this work.

That work has produced a manual, a training resource, A short film an side memoire and an evaluation and there are plans to progress this further.

Speaking at the seminar, Jackie McIlroy (Deputy Chief Social Worker) stressed the importance of early intervention stating; “Today’s event is about recognising the hard work and achievements of the Building Better Futures project, while also recognising that we all have a role in supporting children and young people at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The HSCB is committed to the ongoing delivery of Building Better Futures and to working closely with Trusts to continue to ensure its implementation over the coming years.