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 informative and inspiring. For me it is often not until I leave a conference that the true value is found; the thoughts begin and the connections are 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 panellist talking about the concept of ‘capacity strengthening’. This was the first time I had heard this concept and it resonated with me immediately. The concept of 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. The concept can also be applied to the systems we work with and the agencies we work for.

As a relatively new staff team now approving and welcoming new 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 is really important for new carers to self-assess the strengths they already have, not forgetting the work and life experience they bring into 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 is 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 is important to believe that we all have strengths and it is just a matter of reflecting on them to bring them alive. Being in a position where we can reflect on our strengths, celebrate our successes, and acknowledge what we have achieved should be a major part of all new carers embarking on their journey. Similarly as we continue our journey, Key Assets staff team are looking forward to bring our strengths to as we embark on the new adventures together with our foster carers.