Child sexual exploitation and mental health

Children's Social Care Innovation Programme Thematic Report 3

This report presents an overview of eight projects in the Innovation Programme that focused specifically on groups of young people who were experiencing or at risk of experiencing child sexual exploitation (CSE) or mental health issues. The projects took differing approaches to support young people with complex needs, including testing residential facilities as an alternative to secure accommodation or mental health inpatient settings, working with family members and specialist foster carers to increase their understanding of CSE and their ability to manage risks, developing a new service model based on building supportive relationships, a bespoke outreach service, and out-of-hours support for families that included access to psychiatric and psychological services.

Despite the short period available for evaluation, all of the evaluations presented some evidence of positive change. The use of health and social care services was reduced or managed with less intensive or high-cost services in six of the projects, and there was evidence of a reduction in key CSE risk factors and an increase in protective factors in all four CSE projects. Interviewees (particularly parents/carers and other professionals) reported improvements in young people’s emotional and behavioural well-being and mental health across the projects, but the findings from standardised quantitative measures of well-being were more equivocal. Some of the projects showed that young people’s engagement with education had improved, and half the projects revealed improvements in family functioning and relationships. Common elements of successful projects included strong leadership and inter-agency working, provision of support to family members, empowering young people and families, and a focus on building positive relationships. The four mental health projects reported encouraging cost-benefit findings, albeit with a number of caveats around their calculations. There was less financial information available on the four CSE projects, but one project reported potential annual benefits of over £1.6m.

Published : 5th July 2017*

Publisher : The Rees Centre  [ More From This Publisher ]

Rights : The Rees Centre

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* Although BASW has prepared the information contained within Social Work Knowledge with all due care and updates the information regularly, BASW does not warrant or represent that the information is free from errors or omission. Whilst the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and BASW is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.