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About BERRI
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About BERRI
BERRI is the only online assessment tool to cover mental health, behaviour, emotional wellbeing, relationships, risk and attachment. It was developed by a clinician with extensive experience of Looked After Children and those with complex needs through focus groups with foster carers and residential care staff, and a variety of other professionals.
The BERRI is an easy to use online questionnaire designed to help identify children's needs, with tools to track how they change over time. This increases insight for carers, allowing them to make greater impact on the child's functioning and wellbeing. You can zoom in to target and track specific issues on BERRI, or zoom out to give an overview of the data for a group or service, allowing organisations to evidence improved outcomes, and commissioners to choose the right placement.
Our unique questionnaire asks about the child in everyday language that gets underneath behaviour. The comprehensive assessment covers five domains:
  • Behaviour
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Risk (to self and others)
  • Relationships
  • Indicators (of psychiatric or neurodevelopmental conditions)
Using BERRI regularly lets you see the progress children are making in your care.
We recommend using the full BERRI at least four times per year, as this allows large changes to be identified and provides useful organisational data. The tracking system can be used daily or weekly to "zoom in" to target and track specific concerns or to see whether interventions are effective, and to "zoom out" to get an overview of the data, including a handy manager's report that colour codes who is making progress.
 
Outputs
 
The BERRI system produces a number of different outputs to make the data immediately useful:
  • Automated report, giving scores along with basic advice about each of the 5 domains of need
  • Spider plot illustrating the child’s score on the 5 domains
  • Overlay on the chart to show change since last assessment
  • Ability to identify specific goals to address, and track them in more detail over time
  • Graphs to visualise change in target behaviours over time, and allow identification of patterns
  • the ability to see progress over time for an individual, group or setting
  • the ability to visually compare scores to our norms for that setting*

BERRI Spider Plot

BERRI Change graph

BERRI Change graph
*currently available for residential care settings only
 
Getting an overview
The BERRI system can help to keep an overview of all children who are the responsibility of a particular organisation like a Local Authority or placement provider.
  • It can generate summary information about the needs of the population (including the potential for custom reports eg how many children self-harm, demonstrate physical aggression, or are at risk of CSE?)
  • Information about change over time, taking account of life events (including “traffic light tables” of who is making progress and who needs additional input due to unexplained deterioration)
  • The BERRI system can help to make decisions about which type of placement to use, as we are collecting data about the scores that can be managed within adoptive families, foster placements, residential homes, secure units and other types of placements.
  • For example, some young people may have profiles that suggest they need residential care, and will no longer need to go via multiple foster placement breakdowns to get it. Likewise some young people in residential care may have settled to the extent that stepping down to foster placements is possible.
  • BERRI data will soon give us evidence about which placement pathways work and which don’t.
  • BERRI provides a means to quantify the “value added” by various services or placement providers.
  • We will soon have norms for the amount of change that typically occurs in the BERRI profile for children of each age group, placement type or level of complexity.
  • We can then see whether particular interventions or placements improve these scores.
  • This will allow providers to evidence the efficacy of their services, and commissioners to make informed choices about which placements and services to commission
 
Why use BERRI?

BERRI has a high level of satisfaction from users including:
  • service managers
  • care staff
  • social workers
  • commissioners
  • Ofsted inspectors
Users tell us that by being able to generate the graphs and reports, BERRI saves them more time than it takes to complete. It also makes them look more professional, and more able to evidence that the service is effective.
Most importantly, BERRI improves outcomes for children. Placements using BERRI can evidence an average 14% improvement in children’s scores over six months of using the pathway, and this translates into more settled children, whilst staff feel more able to meet their needs.
This care pathway and the BERRI "set a new gold standard for our members"

Jonathan Stanley, CEO of the Independent Children's Homes Association.
The BERRI is "the missing link in the residential care sector"

Sir Martin Narey, government advisor who reviewed residential care in the UK.
 
 

Case study: Using BERRI in practice

Dr Silver consulted to a large children’s home over the course of a year and introduced the quarterly use of BERRI. Over the year all of the children’s scores fell substantially, and it was possible to demonstrate the impact of the placement on each child. We were able to show this chart to Ofsted and to the children’s social workers. And we were able to identify that some of the children had the potential to step down to a family placement because they reached scores we have shown to be manageable in foster care, or in family placements with a package of support.

BERRI Graph

In a larger pilot of 125 children, placements using BERRI as part of a psychologically informed approach demonstrated a 14% improvement in the children’s scores over a six month period.

 

What does BERRI cover

BERRI looks at all the areas of a child's psychological functioning that our focus groups indicated can affect their placement needs, ability to undertake the activities of daily life, or happiness.

Our questionnaire is written in everyday language and can be used by carers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the child's:

  • Behaviour
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Risk (to self and others)
  • Relationships
  • Indicators (of psychiatric or neurodevelopmental conditions)

Often people see just the child's behaviour, without understanding that their mental health or ability to trust and form relationships with other people might underlie how they are behaving. We want to give a broader picture.

We also know that a large majority of children in Care, and most children who challenge their parents, carers or other settings have significant difficulties with their mental health, development or ability to form relationships with others. We know that Adverse Childhood Experiences such as trauma, abuse and neglect can cause significant problems with attachment (the template the child has for relationships, which is formed from their experiences with their primary caregivers).

BERRI doesn't attempt to cover everything that might be relevant to a child's records - like their school attendance or attainments, whether they abscond from placement or have an incident. We can make custom additional features and reports, but for now we are focused on the psychological aspects of how the child is functioning, which don't seem to be covered by any other metrics available. That also reflects how BERRI was developed, and the background of the clinician who developed BERRI.

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