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Safe Steps CSE Innovation Project

Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme Evaluation Report 21

The St Christopher’s Fellowship Safe Steps Innovation pilot was developed as a response to an increasing number of young women being identified as sexually exploited, or at risk of sexual exploitation, for whom concerns about their safety could lead to placement in secure children’s homes or homes far from their own area.

Safe Steps aims to test whether providing intensive support and supervision, while working within existing guidance on restrictions to liberty, could keep young women safe outside a secure setting. It aims to enable young women to continue to live locally in order to limit disruption to their education and family ties, and to minimise the possibility that they will feel blamed or ‘punished’ for having been exploited.

The pilot was based in 2 children’s homes (Allen House and Pelham House), adapted to offer the highest levels of protection and supervision within the provisions of the current Children’s Homes Regulations. Staff have been trained in a social pedagogy model to work in ways that offer relational security and enable them to take a personalised approach to risk assessment, supervision and safety. The project necessitates managing risk differently and depends on trusting and collaborative relationships with commissioners, local authorities, police and other agencies in the wider community.