We’re celebrating after the findings of an independent evaluation launched on 5th February 2013 highlight the success and importance of our services for young runaways across South Yorkshire.
The evaluation, ‘Reach’, reports the findings of a year long independent review of the Reach Model and in depth look at the services SAFE@LAST delivers in South Yorkshire. The report, which was commissioned by the Railway Children, demonstrates that the model is a sustainable way of delivering prevention and support services for young runaways.
The level of services we provide for young people in South Yorkshire is unique and we’re pleased that Railway Children are urging the Secretary of State for Education to stop further cuts to one-to-one support and commit to a national action plan that recognises the risks faced by the 100,000 children who run away from home every year.
SAFE@LAST works closely with South Yorkshire Police to identify young people in need of support. Between April 2011 and March 2012 we received 1,641 referrals for support for young people running away or going missing with the vast majority (95%, 1,562) of these referrals coming from the police. We made contact with the young people referred to us and offered them a meeting to help them identify and address their issues around running away. If appropriate we then worked with them, providing one to one support for as long as they needed, to help prevent them for feeling they had no choice but to run away again.The report identified that a total of 40% of young people we worked with between April 2011 and March 2012 were recorded as being at high risk of running whilst 39% were at medium risk. This risk was reduced considerably after working with SAFE@LAST with only 5% still at risk of running away.
Tracy Haycox, Director of Children and Young People’s Services at SAFE@LAST, was at the Houses of Parliament for the launch said: “Reach is all about diffusing problems before they get so bad children are put at risk. A major concern is that many of the young people we work with do not realise the dangers they are placing themselves in until it’s too late. But by taking the time to build up a positive relationship with them and their families, we gain their trust and, often for the first time, they open up and talk about their problems. This makes it possible to work out much more quickly what support they really need.”
Nationally the report finds that the Reach model used by SAFE@LAST is an essential model of support for young people who are at risk through running away with recommendations provided to help ensure that any future models of delivery build on the evidence of what works here in South Yorkshire.