Government Champions Youth Work In Supporting Vulnerable

Youth work providers are being asked to play a key role in developing targeted support services for vulnerable young people. A Department for Education and Skills guide Targeted youth support says youth work is key to identifying young people in need and gaining their trust.

The document, based on the experiences of 14 targeted youth support pathfinders, places a strong emphasis on partnership between agencies to deliver effective targeted support. These should include the full range of services for young people, from mainstream services to more specialist agencies.

The guidance does not set out a firm framework for how targeted youth support services should be constructed, but does outline principles that should be applied. These include the presence of a senior level sponsor for the work within the children’s trust, and creating a plan for the reform of targeted support embedded within the children and young people’s plan.

The guidance also identifies seven “key delivery elements” for targeted support, stresses the importance of having a lead professional to co-ordinate advice and guidance, and says there is a key role for universal services.

Paul Vaughan, head of youth services at Leicester City Council, one of the pathfinders, said: “Like many youth services we have our pockets of good practice in terms of partnership working, but it is fair to say no service is truly linked up in the way that is now envisaged.” Leicester City Council is now rolling out its targeted support service, with work due to begin in the New Parks area this month.

Viv McKee, director of policy and development at The National Youth Agency, said: “Targeted youth services need to sit within a proper framework of universal youth services, so that all young people have access to them.”