Home and Away? Supporting Young People And Families

BVY Nina Biehal, Jasmine Clayden and Sarah Byford.

National Children’s Bureau/Joseph Rowntree


ISBN 1 900990 58 X

This study of a specialist support service for vulnerable
adolescents provides useful pointers to how the needs of this group
can be met effectively. It concentrates on considering the quality
of the outcomes achieved as well the comparative costs of providing
such a service.

As new services are being established for young people in
response to the new requirements for carer leavers, this study has
some helpful suggestions and information.

The service was set up in a small unitary authority in 1997
following a review by the new council of its children’s services.
The aims of the support team are to prevent unnecessary entry into
council care or accommodation and to prevent homelessness.

Although the support team in the study seemed to produce
positive outcomes for some young people, the authors argue that a
more coherent inter-disciplinary approach is required. Reference is
made to the social exclusion unit’s recommendation that there
should be more cross-cutting interventions for young people; it is
suggested that preventive services for young people should be
provided within the continuum of these services by
multi-disciplinary youth teams. The study provides some useful
comparative data about different service unit costs but there is
little on the relative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the

The study proposes that there should be alternative service
mechanisms for supporting vulnerable young people more effectively.
It also acknowledges – quite rightly – how difficult it is to
assist those young people who have the most complex and
long-standing needs and difficulties.

Amy Weir is lead inspector for Quality Protects, Social
Services Inspectorate.

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