My Three Houses App

The My Three Houses™ app helps professionals such as children’s services workers, teachers and child counsellors help children to write, draw and speak about worrying things in their life. Any time a professional needs to talk with a child, this is a fun and engaging tool to use.

The app is highly flexible, with features that enable it to be used quickly by workers completely new to the My Three Houses tool, and also for those that are already experienced with the tool.


PLEASE NOTE: The My Three Houses app is for tablets only, with optimal results on 10” screen devices. It was designed this this way as you need the screen space to use the drawing pad feature effectively and it would be difficult to draw on a phone-sized device, especially for children.


Caseworker Toolbox

  • Brief introduction to the tool
  • How to prepare for a My Three Houses session
  • Signs of Safety framework overview
  • How to use My Three Houses with a child
  • Guide to working with parents and caregivers
  • Customisable questions library for ideas and prompts
  • Examples of My Three Houses drawings
  • Notes facility
  • Managing multiple drawings and clients
  • Export all drawings, notes and audio you create with the child

Children’s Section

  • Storybook: An animated, interactive storybook guides both children and workers through the My Three Houses process
  • A child-friendly animated video introduces the child to My Three Houses
  • A drawing pad to draw and record the child’s Three Houses work. This can then be accessed directly or through the storybook
  • Audio recording facility

Parent’s Section

  • Brief introduction to the My Three Houses tool
  • Introductory video
  • Parental consent form for the child interview
  • Written transcript of introductory video that provides a ‘takeaway’ explanation
  • Examples of My Three Houses drawings done by other children

App Overview

Workers who are confident in using the Three Houses tool with children can go straight to the drawing board and get started after creating a profile. For workers wanting more support, or perhaps a novel way of engaging a child, the My Three Houses app has an exciting bonus feature. The app presents Bella and Buddy. These two cartoon dog and cat characters provide workers with a guided experience to engage children in using My Three Houses. Buddy and Bella can then be called on to help workers and children during the interview providing prompts and questions to deepen their work.

The app creates a profile for each child, holding session information, permission forms, audio recording and worker notes. These items can be exported out of the app for filing into any professional case management system.

The content of the My Three Houses app has been developed using a “with, not for” design philosophy by Dr Andrew Turnell, co-creator of the Signs of Safety®, and Katrina Etherington, working together with children’s services professionals in the UK, USA and Australia. The initial development of the three houses concept came from work done in New Zealand in the early 2000s initiated by Nicki Weld and Maggie Greening of which Andrew Turnell was an active part.

Funding for the development of this app was provided by the English Government through the 2014–16 Signs of Safety England Innovations Project, involving ten local authorities working to redesign their service delivery, practice guidance, organisational procedures and information management to better support the implementation of the Signs of Safety approach.


If you run into issues while using the My Three Houses app or would like to offer some feedback, you can contact us by sending an email to


Is there a Windows version of the My Three Houses App?

At this time the app is only available for devices running on the  iOS and Android operating systems. Our intention has always been to offer a version for Windows however after significant problems in development, we are no longer able to give a definitive release date for a Windows version of the My Three Houses App.

What data security measures are in place for information stored in the My Three Houses app?
Does the app have password protection?

All data is stored in the app only. The app has no password security other than what is employed globally by the operating system. It’s similar to a native note-taking app on your device where if someone has access to the device and has your device password they can also then access the data within the app. We advise that workers treat the app like they would a physical case notes file, i.e. don’t leave it unattended and keep it secure when not in use.

Is the data sent to an external server and if so is the data encrypted?

Nothing is encrypted on the app. No information is sent out of the app to any outside servers. The only data that can leave the app is by being exported via PDF.

In what format(s) can the data be exported from the app?

Users can choose to create PDFs of drawings made and then they can email these from the app.