Person Centred Planning Tools: Signs of Safety Practice Framework

In West Sussex we have a practice framework which is Signs of Safety through an Attachment and Trauma Lens. Two person centred planning tools that support the framework are M.A.P. and P.A.T.H. These tools support what is at the heart of the practice framework - the child and family are at the centre of all our interventions.


The tools acknowledge where the person is at a specific point in time and how the decisions they are making will have a direct impact on their future.

A Person Centred M.A.P. stands for ‘Making Action Plans’ and can be a used to capture the child / family history, explore the worries in the Signs of Safety danger statement /worry statement and recognise the safety goals /wellbeing goals that are captured in the Signs of Safety plan. As the danger statement has already been made through the Signs of Safety work, the impact of these risks can be clearly be highlighted throughout the M.A.P. process.

A Person Centred P.A.T.H. stands for ‘Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope’ and begins by visualising a positive future for the child / young person and captures the steps needed to get there. The P.A.T.H. is a solution focused tool and is very useful for building confidence, motivation and engagement and drilling down into what a preferred future might look like.

Both M.A.P. and P.A.T.H. tools capture the aspiration of the child / young person during the ‘dream’ section and enable this to be shared with family and professionals. Working back from ‘the dream’/ preferred future helps the child /young person understand what they need to do to achieve this goal and agree manageable steps to get there. The tools provide opportunities to consider the future impact of current choices and to allow the child / young person to gain the insight and motivation to make decisions that support a positive future. The support needed to keep the child / young person ‘safe’ and ‘on track’ is identified as part of the process.

M.A.P.S. and P.A.T.H.S. are very visual processes and can therefore support those with lower literacy levels, communication skills, learning needs or have English as an additional language. The tools can be particularly helpful when areas of work such as ‘3 houses’ are difficult concepts for the person to understand. The tools can be used flexibly and a

M.A.P. or P.A.T.H. can be developed over a single or number of sessions to gain the voice of child, young person or parent.

When someone has been through the court system decisions about their care are taken by the judge or social work - the child or young person has a limited choice. Person centred planning tools can help re-address this balance and they produce an action plan that has the view and dream/preferred future of the child / young person at the centre. The tools can bring about a ‘light-bulb’ moment as they provide an opportunity to think differently and understand how the actions taken make a huge difference to someone’s future. To find out more about Person Centred Planning and the resources available check links on the right.