I think this is a good way to look at things. A number of words come to my mind, which are my vision of hoped-for goals and outcomes in how we plan to care for the children:
Most of our protection strategies are in the reactive realm – that is basically to have a plan for when something happens. While this is important, I want us to move beyond that to the following kinds of perspectives…
Reactive has a disciplinary and negative flavor to me. I like responsive – it addresses the need or situation.
Let's develop a plan with and for families that shows that there are things that need to be addressed. To the best of our ability, we want to have a plan that takes into account what the family knows, and also what we know, which might keep us vigilant and ready to face new situations as they arise.
Planning is at its best when we know what might happen, and have action steps set up that are triggered when conditions require it. I think this is most apparent in the stages of preparation a family goes through, as evacuation or other serious crises become more of a possibility in a developing situation.
Engaging and Compelling
I think any services or plans have a better chance of being utilized if they engage the participants and draw them in a positive way to use the identified strategy. Over at Crosswired (www.crosswired.com), we are developing online “micro learning units” which are kind of mini learning events of 1-2 minutes designed to pique someone’s interest in the topic and pursue it further. This would be an example of a technique to get families thinking about particular topics.
As opposed to resource-less! In other words, full of resources and additional steps, possibilities, etc. This is a goal for our member care, as we support families.
In the best of worlds, we are not being led by being punitive approaches, but by seeking to help all parties receive some form of restoration when there has been conflict. Compassion suggests we should be helping all parties. This is not to say we don’t punish or discipline bad behavior, but that through this disciplinary process, the offending party can move towards healing as well.
Preventative (when we can)
In a perfect world, we could be so good at predicting, that we have things in place to prevent bad things from happening. But – our world isn’t perfect. Collateral damage is part of this sinful place in which we currently abide. I still want to strive for preventative strategies, but they will not always work, and I need to look at those other words above…
Brent Lindquist, Ph.D.