Approach evaluate, learn and improve in youth care

Are we doing what is right and are we doing it well? Explore multiple perspectives in stories and discover strengths and opportunities for change

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We'd love to tell you more about our approach to youth care

Our approach in Youth Care

A. Online infrastructure

We designed and developed a customized StoryPoint and dashboard for this approach.

B. Tailored storytelling session

We designed work sessions for this approach. Our method is: show - do it together - do it yourself.

C. Structured approach

A structured approach was developed: stories were shared, insights were built, implementation of ideas and evaluation.

Based on lived experiences

Typically we work with stories (reflections on situations) from all involved in youth care. We work in a structured manner, assuming that knowledge is present among young people, parents, caretakers, professionals, and organizations to build insights and learn and improve together. We collaboratively develop the infrastructure (StoryPoint, dashboard) and the approach (method) for working with stories. We teach young people, parents, teams/organizations how to do this and remain connected for any questions, guidance, advice, etc.

Evaluate, learn and improve using stories

Why work with stories?

Reasons to work with stories are: a. Stories help us to understand (experiences of) people and gain a picture of situations. b. In stories, there is a lot of information for building insights and generating rough ideas for change, experiments, and/or initiatives. c. By telling a story, the storyteller reflects on his/her own life and actions, initiating change. d. Stories make visible what remains hidden without them. In organizations, this is referred to as the undercurrent. e. Everyone can tell stories, and no one is excluded. f. Stories are easy to remember and thus powerful in storytelling.

Youth care in practice

One example project that adopted this approach is the Regional Safety Team in the Foodvalley region. Here, we supported this team for a period of 2.5 years in working with stories. Stories are shared from multiple perspectives: 1. Parents, family, and young people if possible. 2. Team members of Foodvalley. 3. Employees of the Social Team. Every six months, we work with stories from different perspectives. Together, we discover what we can learn from them and what we can improve. For instance, we evaluated, using the stories, how the principles are experienced in practice. We initiated small adjustments to further strengthen what is going well and improve what needed to change. Based on this, the team devised and implemented 5 adjustments.

Evaluate, learn and improve using stories

Hard and soft data

Hard and soft data are often viewed in competition with each other. This is not the case for us. We use both hard and soft data to increase understanding and develop ideas for change. The number of assistance requests, waiting times, the duration of guidance, and the number of escalations are hard data that can be quantified. In stories, people express how they experience the assistance, what they think is going well. These are stories that people may share with friends and family about the youth care they receive. We refer to this narrative information as soft data. After sharing a story, the storyteller answers a set of questions about the story, such as what emotions were experienced, the theme of the story, etc. For us, this is a form of more concrete soft data. We use both counting and storytelling data and both are used in work sessions.

Shifts in practice

If you continuously work with stories in youth care, you can also monitor the potential effect of implemented actions in practice. If you observe changes in the stories or in the responses to questions about the story, you discuss with each other whether it is due to the actions taken or if there is something else causing the change. This way, in the complex domain, you can monitor changes before effects become visible in harder data such as guidance duration.

Are you interested?

We'd love to tell you more about our approach to youth care
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