Child Exploitation – North Yorkshire and York ‘Trusted Relationships’ Project
The Trusted Relationships Fund was launched by the Home Office in Spring 2018 and provided an opportunity for local authorities to apply for funding to deliver and evaluate initiatives to improve support to young people at risk of exploitation and abuse. In total, 11 Trusted Relationships projects in England have been funded by the Home Office.
North Yorkshire and York Trusted Relationships Project
The successful bid from North Yorkshire and York centres on the implementation of a multi-agency collaborative approach to identification and support for children and young people (principally aged 10 – 17) who are primarily at risk of or subject to Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), including County Lines, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Modern Slavery.
The North Yorkshire and York Trusted Relationships project went live in January 2019 and at the heart of the delivery model is the ambition to foster positive, persistent and long-term relationships and develop protective factors that build resilience in this highly vulnerable population. To do this, a ‘Trusted Relationship’ (trained individuals including service
experienced young adults, specialist trained adult mentors, and trusted adults already known to the children) will be identified for each young person.
Support through the Trusted Relationships project is delivered through the following strands:
Support for children and young people who are identified as being vulnerable or at risk of CCE, including County Lines, CSE and Modern Slavery. Delivery is through:
- North Yorkshire: Restorative Practice (RP) Relief Workers – young people aged 16 – 24 who are trained to facilitate restorative practice. These young people have all had previous involvement with Children and Families Services and would become the ‘Trusted Relationship’
- York: Volunteer Mentors – specialist adult volunteer mentors who will become the ‘Trusted Relationship’ with the young person
The primary role of the RP Relief Workers and Volunteer Mentors is to develop a ‘Trusted Relationship’ to help build resilience, self-esteem and self-efficacy young people vulnerable to CCE and exploitation generally. The RP Relief Workers and Volunteer Mentors are appropriately trained and supervised and the relevant operational manager is responsible for matching the young people to suitable RP Relief Workers/Mentors.
Network / family finding approach for young people identified as being subject to CCE, including County Lines, CSE and Modern Slavery. Delivery across North Yorkshire and York is through Family Network Coordinators (FNCs) who are trained to effectively deliver a continuum of restorative approaches including Restorative Practice and Family finding to support children, young people and their families. The FNCs will be responsible for building a positive relationship
with the young person, the identification of connections with trusted adults, referral to the Family Group Conference / Lifelong Links process f necessary, and to develop resiliency within young people and their family / wider network to build sustainability post-conference.
Accessing Support through ‘Trusted Relationships’
In order to access support through the Trusted Relationships project, the case must first be routed through the designated ‘Child Exploitation’ pathway for the relevant local authority area. Within North Yorkshire this is the Multi-Agency Screening Team (MAST) Child Exploitation process and within York it is the Multi-Agency Child Exploitation and Missing (MACEM) Meeting pathway.
By taking this approach, case-holders will be required to complete a child exploitation risk assessment, and will therefore not be specifically requesting Trusted Relationships support from the outset. The risk assessment and case will then be discussed in a multi-agency forum who will make recommendations, and ‘Trusted Relationships’ will be considered as one potential support option. If an outcome of the MAST / MACEM discussion is that the case would be suitable for and would benefit from Trusted Relationships support, the case-holder will then be notified and will be asked to complete a Trusted Relationships nomination form. Following submission of the nomination by the case-holder, the case will be considered by the Trusted Relationships Coordinator/Panel, who, if appropriate will allocate to case to receive either
Strand 1 or 2 support.
Appendix 1 provides an overview of the process which is in place. The above pathway/approach has been implemented to promote consistency in terms of how cases are considered, nominated and then allocated to the Trusted Relationships project. It will also ensure there is multi-agency agreement as to the appropriateness of Trusted Relationship
support in the context of a range of support options/interventions available to children and young people vulnerable to or subject to different forms of exploitation. It is also important that the Trusted Relationships project is not viewed in
isolation, but instead is seen across the partnership as one of a number of services which aims to achieve positive outcomes for young people at risk of or subject to exploitation.
Although this project is new and innovative, it is essential we build on the strong partnership foundations that already exist in North Yorkshire and York. All partners must retain ‘accountability’ for the children, young people and families that we
support. The Trusted Relationships project aims to supplement the work of other agencies/services involved with the case and will not have ‘caseholding’ responsibility.
If you have any questions in relation to the North Yorkshire and York Trusted Relationships project, please contact Mike Lord, Trusted Relationships Project Coordinator, on: