The process: from referral to starting to work
It starts with a referral. You complete the brief online form, we follow that up with an in-depth discussion about the young person’s strengths and challenges and what you hope the outcome might be from our intervention. Based on this, we send you a proposal, with provisional costings and if this is agreed, the case is allocated to two or three of our skilled team members. Our staff come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, enabling us to match skills to need.
Then we start a conversation. We meet key stakeholders, such as schools staff and other professionals involved in directly supporting a young person, and, crucially with the young person themselves, and their family. It is about making a personal connection and meeting young people at the stage of life they are currently at. This eight hour
in-depth assessment informs the intervention plan and then specific targets which will be addressed.
What sort of young people do we work with and who refers them?
Our evidence-based and psychologically-focused interventions are always one-to-one and nearly always include parent/carer work. They are aimed at meeting the exact needs of the most complex young people who are struggling to engage in education; they may be entrenched non-attenders, at risk of permanent exclusion or struggling with transition. Recently, for example, we have worked with a young person suffering from social anxiety and low mood, several with a diagnosis of ASD, an eight year old with separation difficulties and a fifteen year old with a significant attachment disorder.
We will always be seeking to re-integrate these young people back into education. Our referrals come mainly from schools (both primary, secondary and special) and the Virtual Schools/Colleges for Looked After Children and
Post-Adoption Support, although we also receive specialist referrals from Local Authorities through their SEN Departments or Social Care.
What does this look like in practice?
Most interventions last six weeks (once assessment is complete) and involve three or four sessions a week. This may not sound long, but our model is based on the evidence that intensive engagement over a relatively short period of time is more effective for some children than drip fed one hour a week for longer. As our name implies, we seek to support young people, and their families to turn round and face another direction; our aim is to ensure that they have the strategies to continue on that path when we close our work, and the professional support network in place to help them.
In some circumstances, we will offer a slightly longer intervention, 10 weeks for example, particularly if there are specific events, transitions or holidays to be bridged. For a few young people with significant need, we are engaged in long-term work. However long the intervention is, you will receive weekly reports from the team, regular informal contact with school staff, attendance at formal professionals meetings such as TAFs, PEPs etc. and a closure report with suggested strategies for the future. We aim to give hope to struggling young people.