Support For Young People
Our Council is providing additional support for young people during COVID-19 by setting up 14 Youth Work spaces across Dumfries and Galloway to provide support for young people aged 12 - 18 (S1-S6) from Monday 8 June.
These will be delivered by the Council's Youth Work Service and partners, where applicable.
The Youth Work spaces can only be accessed by referral. Referrals can be submitted by Social Work, Education, Employability & Skills, Youth Services and Third Sector Providers working with young people aged 12-18.
The young people that this is targeted at may be those who:
- You have concerns surrounding their well-being including mental health during COVID-19
- Are on or at risk of being placed on the Child Protection Register,
- Are care experienced young people
- Are considered vulnerable (using your professional judgement)
- Are experiencing poverty,
- Are at risk of offending
Each Youth Work space will deliver evidence-based group work and issue-based programmes delivered twice per day (10:30am - 12:30pm or 2pm - 4pm) in groups (up-to 8 young people per session)
Depending on the young person's circumstance, it may be appropriate for them to attend multiple sessions per week and this information should be included within the referral form so that those in greater need of the service are prioritised. Programmes are flexible to each group and the Youth Work Staff responsible for the delivery of sessions are trained to deliver workshops surrounding bereavement and loss, risk-taking behaviour such as alcohol and drug use, relationships, confidence and esteem, sexual health, online safety and various other issues experienced by young people.
The decision to refer a vulnerable young person to a Youth Work space is a professional judgement.
Government advice is that vulnerable young people who need care, support and protection should only attend this provision where the risk to a young person's safety at home is assessed as outweighing the risk of attending. Every session will follow strict guidance surrounding social distancing.
This provision is voluntary for young people to participate in and referrals should be completed with the young person's consent.
Transport will not be provided to these sessions (unless organised by the referring agency)
Youth Work placements for vulnerable young people
You will be aware that there have been increasing numbers of vulnerable children attending Childcare Hubs throughout the region and whilst there are growing concerns for many of our secondary aged young people, the existing hubs are not the most appropriate space for vulnerable young people to receive support. 14 Youth Work spaces have been established to provide a safe space for young people aged 12-18 (S1-S6) who are in need of support, diversionary activity or early intervention.
We have worked with colleagues to develop this brief guide and processes for vulnerable young people to access these Youth Work spaces.
Balancing the risk; hub or home?
The decisions to refer a vulnerable young person in the Youth Work space is a professional judgement, that must balance the risk to the young person and their family of infection, against the risk of not accessing the care, support or protection that a Youth Work service can provide.
Government advice is that vulnerable young people who need care, support and protection should only attend Youth Work space where the risk to a young person's safety at home is assessed as outweighing the risk of attending. Key indicators of vulnerability are: Child Protection Register; Looked After Children/on the Edge of Care; facing Poverty and Deprivation.
The most recent guidance from the Scottish Government reiterated their expectations about the need to balance the harms when making decisions about accessing this provision.
Placement requests - remembering our GIRFEC processes
The flow-chart below has been developed to guide professionals through the steps they would take, should they need to make a request for a vulnerable young person. It is critical to recognise, that once the current situation returns to normal and schools re-open, the named person or Lead Professional will require the best information possible regarding significant events in the child's life, to allow continuity of assessment and planning.
To this end, it is important that identification of risk should be carried out in the normal way through assessment e.g. a risk assessment, wellbeing assessment, child's assessment report etc.
In keeping with Dumfries and Galloway GIRFEC procedures, there should always be liaison with Lead Professional or Named Person as appropriate. Where relevant, child's plans should be reviewed, agreed and updated. Some key aspects of planning might include the details of who will monitor attendance, success of the placement and reporting arrangements between Hub, relevant professionals and family.
Information will be shared with relevant agencies where there are concerns for a young person, however any additional information surrounding a young person's participation will only be shared with the young person's consent.
As you will see from the process outlined in the above flow-chart, there can be several arrangements including additional support needs, transport etc, which require to be put in place prior to a young person attending a Hub. Please allow for as much time as possible when requesting a placement, to ensure staffing and supports can be prepared as required before a placement begins.
Kelly Ross, Senior Youth Development Officer
Youth Work Services
Tel: 01387 260243