Blog – Embarking on a new Adventure
This is my first contribution to the blogging world; given blogging in itself is a new venture for me, it seems appropriate to reflect on the value of new adventures and what they teach us.
I recently attended the Child Aware Conference in Melbourne which was both informative and inspiring. For me it’s often not until I leave a conference that the true value is found; the thoughts begin, the connections made.
In social work and the out-of-home care sector we talk about ‘capacity building’ and this can be applied to a multitude of settings. During this conference I was listening to a panelist talking about the concept of ‘capacity strengthening’. This was the first time I’d heard this concept and it resonated with me immediately. Capacity strengthening is informed by the idea that all people and communities already have strengths and the work we undertake with them is about fostering these strengths and building upon them. This concept can also be applied to the systems we work with and the agencies we work for.
For us, a relatively new staff team now approving and welcoming foster carers, the concept of capacity strengthening is highly relevant. Our new foster carers will be undertaking new tasks, learning new skills, acquiring new knowledge and seeking to apply all this as they commence their new adventure. In this context, it’s really important for new carers to self-assess the strengths they already have, not forgetting the work and life experience they bring to the role of becoming a new foster carer.
This self-assessment should enable carers to reflect on how these experiences can be applied to caring for our most vulnerable children and young people. It’s easy to get caught up in what is occurring in the present and what needs to be completed in the future. Sometimes we neglect to reflect on the past.
Reflecting on our past experiences is a powerful tool that enables us individually and collectively to equip ourselves with the skills to take on new adventures. It’s important to believe that we all have strengths and it’s just a matter of reflecting on them to bring them alive.
Reflecting on strengths, celebrating successes, and acknowledging achievements is an important part of the journey for all new carers embarking on their fostering journey. Similarly, as we continue our journey, the Key Assets staff team are looking forward to bringing our strengths too as we embark on new adventures together with our foster carers.