Our approach

Barnardos approach to working with children and families

Barnardos is committed to a needs-led, outcomes focused approach in our delivery of services to children and families. At the heart of everything we do, we strive to achieve two outcomes for the children and young people. These are;  

  •  Increased emotional well-being  
  •  Improved learning and development

We believe that if a child’s learning and development, and his or her emotional well-being, is successfully and measurably improved through our work, then the child’s ability to benefit from life opportunities and manage life challenges will be improved, and therefore the path of his or her life will be changed for the better.

Three Bests

Barnardos offers services across three stages of child development:

1. Best Start

Services for children aged 0-5 years, supporting healthy emotional development and school readiness outcomes.

2. Best Chance

Services for children aged 6-12 years, focusing on the achievement of emotional well-being, and learning and development outcomes.

3. Best Choice

Services for children and young people aged 13-18 years, focusing on learning and development outcomes and emotional well-being outcomes.

Service Delivery 

We offer services across the age ranges on both a group and individual basis (child-focused, parent focused and family focused).  

  • Child-focused work: 

In Barnardos, we work to promote children’s learning and emotional development. Needs in these areas are identified through a process of assessment, from which our work with children is planned in order to ensure it is outcome-focused. Individual work allows children to express their needs, feelings and aspirations. This provides children with a positive experience of a caring adult relationship. Through this support, children are able to gain an understanding of their unique life story. It also helps build on, and strengthen, resilience factors. 

  • Family-focused work: 

Family-focused work is provided in Barnardos to promote family relationships and a positive experience of family life for the children. Strengthening family functioning and relationships enhances a family’s ability to understand, and meet, the needs of the children, ensuring that they have a positive experience of childhood.  

  • Parent-focused work: 

Parent-focused work is provided in Barnardos to support the parents’ ability to meet their children’s needs for basic care, safety, emotional warmth, stimulation, guidance and boundaries and stability, and to cope with the responsibilities of being a parent. Parenting work may include working with the parents to understand their children’s needs, coaching them to develop new skills, encouraging them to spend time and play with their children, supporting them in introducing routines and boundaries, and strengthening their ability to promote positive behaviour and manage challenging behaviours.

  • Group work: 

Group work is provided in Barnardos to encourage children and parents to develop the skills and attributes that will enable them to communicate and behave more positively in other groups, such as the family, the school and the community. The group context encourages a sense of connection to other people and enables participants to learn from each other about positive ways of behaving, relating and problem-solving. This can be practiced in the safe environs of the group before they are applied by the individual in their wider world. Group work may not be suitable for all adults or children. There are some whose needs might be better met through individual work and family work. For others, group work may be one part of a package of services offered.