Andrew Turnell

Andrew Turnell
Director and Signs of Safety co-creator

Andrew is an independent social worker, brief family therapist and child protection consultant from Perth, Western Australia. As well as international consultancy and teaching work, Andrew maintains a clinical practice working solely with families where child maltreatment has occurred or is suspected but the parents deny responsibility. Andrew has published extensively on the subjects of brief therapy and child protection, including his most well-known works: Turnell, A. and Edwards, S. (1999) Signs of Safety: A Solution and Safety Oriented Approach to Child Protection Casework, New York, Norton. Turnell, A. and Essex, S. (2006) Working with ‘Denied’ Child Abuse: The Resolutions Approach, Open University Press. Andrew is currently preparing his third book, Building Safety in Child Protection Practice: Working with a Strengths and Solution Focus in a Risk Environment, to be published by Palgrave-Macmillan. In 2007, Andrew completed his PhD at Curtin University which focused on practitioner and service recipient-defined constructive child protection practice.

During the 1990’s, Andrew and colleague Steve Edwards, in conjunction with over 150 West Australian child protection workers, developed the Signs of Safety approach to child protection casework. The approach has won two Australian social service awards for innovative practice. Andrew has also been closely involved in the development of statutory child protection risk assessment frameworks in Victoria and West Australia that are collaborative and participatory, that integrate best professional knowledge alongside local family and cultural knowledge, and that balance information regarding danger/harm alongside strengths and safety.

Andrew regularly gives lectures and workshops in Australia, Europe, North America, Japan and New Zealand. Having been involved in the creation of the Signs of Safety approach to front-line practice Andrew balances his time between working with front-line practitioners and supervisors developing the Signs of Safety approach itself and working with senior staff in developing processes that enable the casework approach to be implemented across child protection systems. Andrew is currently employed by statutory protection organisations in New Zealand, England, The Netherlands, Canada, the USA and Western Australia to provide ongoing support, supervision and consultancy in system-wide implementations of the Signs of Safety approach. The longest standing implementations of the Signs of Safety are occurring in Olmsted and Carver Counties, Minnesota, Gateshead Children’s Services Authority, England, Barnardos Dundee, Open Home Foundation, New Zealand, Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services, BC Canada, Bureau Jeugdzorg Drenthe and Zeeland. Andrew is particularly excited to be involved in leading a system-wide implementation of the Signs of Safety in his home state of Western Australia in the Department for Child Protection (serving 2 million people). This implementation began in 2008. Since Andrew’s consultancy work integrates both organisational and direct practice foci this in turn flows into Andrew’s ongoing endeavour to document and prepare new written and DVD training examples and resources on the application of safety-organised practice to different case, case management and organisational contexts.

Publications, papers and DVDs

Turnell A. with Nicki Weld, Vania da Paz, Yvette James, Annemarie McLaughlin, Jan Wilkinson, Theo Kloosters, Margreet Timmer, Laura Brennan, Sue Robson, Kim Tweten, Tomas Embreus, Ophelia McKwashie, Angie Louie, Julie Birdstone, Chie Okubo and Tomoko Nakada (2011). Of houses wizards and fairies: involving children and young people in child protection assessment and planning (Workbook and DVD). Perth: Resolutions Consultancy,

Teoh, A. H., Laffer, J., Parton, N., and Turnell A. (2003).Trafficking in meaning: constructive social work in child protection practice in Chris Hall, Kirsi Juhila, Nigel Parton and Tarja Pösö (Editors) Client as Practice, Jessica Kingsley, London.

Turnell, A. (1998). The Signs of Safety: Reflections on the road toward a comprehensive partnership practice for child protection casework. 12th International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect, Auckland, New Zealand Sept 6-9.

Turnell, A. (2000). Current International Developments in Risk Assessment: A Background Paper. Family and Children’s Services, Risk Assessment and Risk Management Project. Perth.

Turnell, A. (2001). Humour in therapy; reflections from practice, Context. Winter: 18-22.

Turnell, A. (2005). Introduction to the Signs of Safety (DVD), Resolutions Consultancy, Perth.

Turnell, A. (2004). Relationship-grounded, safety-organised child protection practice: Dreamtime or real-time option for child welfare? Protecting Children, 19(2): 14–25.

Turnell, A. (2006). Constructive Child Protection Practice: An Oxymoron or News of Difference? Journal of Systemic Therapies 25(2): 3-12.

Turnell, A. (2006). Tecken på säkerhet – Signs of Safety på svenska. In M. Söderquist. & A. Suskin-Holmqvist, A. (Eds.), Delaktighet – Lösningsfokuserat förhållningssätt i utredningsarbete. Stockholm: Mareld.

Turnell, A. (2007). Enacting the interpretive turn: narrative means toward transformational practice in child protection social work, PhD Thesis, Perth: Curtin University.

Turnell, A. (2007). Solution-focused brief therapy: thinking and practicing beyond the therapy room. In F. Thomas and T. Nelson (Eds.), Clinical Applications of Solution-focused Brief Therapy, Bimmington: Haworth Press, USA.

Turnell, A. (2007). Words and pictures: informing and involving children in child abuse cases (DVD), Perth: Resolutions Consultancy (no longer available).

Turnell, A. (2008). Adoption of the Signs of Safety as the Department for Child Protection’s child protection practice framework: background paper, Perth, West Australia: Department for Child Protection.

Turnell A. (In press). Building safety in child protection practice: working with a strengths and solution-focus in a risk environment. London: Palgrave.

Turnell, A. (2009). New and revised introduction to the Signs of Safety approach to child protection casework(DVD and Workbook), Perth: Resolutions Consultancy,

Turnell, A. (2010). Effective safety planning in child protection casework (DVD and Workbook), Perth: Resolutions Consultancy,

Turnell, A. and Murphy, T. (2012). Signs of Safety; briefing paper (4th ed.), Perth: Resolutions Consultancy,

Turnell, A. (2011). Of houses, wizards and fairies: involving children in child protection casework (DVD and Workbook), Perth: Resolutions Consultancy,

Turnell A. and Edwards S. (1997). Aspiring to partnership: The signs of safety approach to child protection casework, Child Abuse Review, 6: 179 – 190.

Turnell A. and Edwards S. (1999). Signs of safety: a solution and safety oriented approach to child protection casework. New York: Norton.

Turnell, A., Elliott, S. and Hogg, V. (2007). Compassionate, safe and rigorous child protection practice with parents of adopted children. Child Abuse Review 16(2): 108-119.

Turnell A. and Essex S. (2006). Working with situations of ‘denied’ child abuse: the Resolutions approach. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Turnell A., Lohrbach, S and Curran, S. (2008). Working with the ‘involuntary client’ in child protection: lessons from successful practice. In M. Calder (Ed.) The carrot or the stick? Towards effective practice with involuntary clients, London: Russell House Publishing.

Turnell A. and Hopwood L. (1994a). “Solution-focused brief therapy: a first session outline”, Case Studies in Brief and Family Therapy, 8 (2): 39-51.

Turnell A. and Hopwood L. (1994b). “Solution-focused brief therapy: an outline for second and subsequent sessions” Case Studies in Brief and Family Therapy, 8(2): 52-64.

Turnell A. and Hopwood L. (1994c). “Solution-focused brief therapy: case closure and ideas for the ‘stuck’ cases” Case Studies in Brief and Family Therapy, 8(2): 65-75.

Turnell A. and Lipchik, E. (1999).“Empathy in brief therapy: the essential but overlooked aspect.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy. 20(4): 177-182.

Turnell A. and Parker, S. (2009). Introduction to the Signs of Safety (DVD Workbook). Perth: Resolutions Consultancy,