Channon* was referred to Prospects Youth Support Team (YST) when she was 13 years old. Her school had made the referral after increasing concerns about a series of school exclusions, identifying Channon as at risk of permanent exclusion. Also identified was a lack of respect for boundaries, risky behaviours around peer pressure, alcohol, substance misuse. Channon’s mother had also reported that her relationship with her daughter was poor and expressed a desire for this to improve. Channon and her younger sister also had a poor relationship.
What Prospects did
Prospects provide a triage approach with a fast track team, through this system Channon was allocated a programme officer, Nicky, to work with her.
After some 1:1 sessions with Channon, Nicky organised for her to attend YST’s weekly Coleford girls group. The group has a programme that works around key themes: keep safe, risky behaviours, healthy relationships, self esteem and self confidence. Soon after Channon’s risky behaviours seemed to be escalating and were an area of concern. Social care became involved and allocated a family support worker through Families First Plus to work with the family alongside Nicky’s work with Channon.
At this point Nicky felt that the Channon would benefit from an individualised programme working with YST’s activities team. The activities team immediately benefitted Channon, who began to engage and pretty soon the family support worker asked for the whole family to be included in the activities Channon was involved in to help build relationships, team building, recognising and celebrating achievements and conflict resolution within the family. Channon’s family piloted working with the activities team as a whole family.
A programme was devised including canoeing, kayaking, climbing, archery and caving for Channon and her mum and dad, with additional engagement from Channon’s sister during the school holidays. The programme was designed to allow the family opportunities to spend relaxed, positive and pleasurable time together; there were opportunities for Channon’s parents to see her achieve success and for them to offer praise and recognition of her achievements and to generally communicate more positively with each other.
Outcomes and results
Since becoming involved with YST, Channon has settled in a PRU where she is enjoying better relationships and attends regularly. There are still some concerns about some of her behaviours but largely the worries have been reduced.
One of the most significant improvements noted by Channon, the family and the professionals involved is the huge improvement in the family relationships. The family have reported less family arguments, more laughter in the house, doing more things as a family and Channon spending more time at home.
It is clear that this was a family in crisis and that the intervention from the practitioners and, in particular the activities team, were able to encourage the family to begin improving communication and begin to build a secure base for Channon.
* Not her real name