Understanding the needs of and interventions to keep teenagers safe and improve their outcomes is a key concern within children’s social care services.
The level of vulnerabilities and risks faced by teenagers is reflected in the numbers entering care. Whilst more children have entered care year on year since 2008, the numbers entering care in their teenage years has increased disproportionately. To compound this, the teenage years are a challenging developmental period, for those in contact with social care these challenges are likely overlaid with a raft of significant stresses and uncertainties.
Teenagers who receive support from children’s social care have specific needs which differ from younger children in contact with social care due to their developmental stage. Rather than being caused direct harm by their parents or carers, teenagers may experience, or be at risk of experiencing, specific harms outside of the home context that parents are unable to stop. These extrafamilial harms may include criminal and sexual exploitation, serious youth violence and peer-on-peer abuse. There is an urgent need to improve capacity to identify these external risks, and ensure the right support is in place. The review will therefore focus on contextual safeguarding issues, looking at interventions designed to support young people exposed to harms and abuse in their relationships in schools, communities and online.
As part of work undertaken to support the Independent Review into Children’s Social Care, What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) has commissioned a brief evidence review into this area to capture a growing evidence base and inform the recommendations of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.
The aim of the review is to identify what strategies or interventions are effective in reducing risks to keep young people safe, meeting their needs and improving their outcomes.
The evidence review will answer the following questions:
- What interventions have been put in place to respond to the needs of teenagers involved with children’s social care and are these effective?
- What are the barriers and facilitators to implementation of interventions and does evidence suggest they are acceptable to target groups?
The review will be carried out from September-December 2021 and will report in mid-January 2022.