Young People At Risk

Our aim:

To make Portsmouth a place where young people can grow up in a healthy and safe environment, where they all have every opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Why this is a priority

Research shows that chronic traumatic stress in early life affects brain development, and also impacts on the nervous, hormonal and immunological system. This can lead to a higher state of alertness to potential danger and put a strain on a persons body, leading to an increased risk of premature ill-health. This heightened emotional state may also lead to anxiety or other mental health conditions or make it difficult to concentrate, leading to poor educational attainment.

Where children witness or experience violence in their household, these behaviours can be normalised and increase the likelihood of them either perpetrating or being the victim of violence themselves in adulthood.

The exploitation of children is a force priority and work with partners happens every day to keep young people in Portsmouth safer.

What we know:

Experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) can leave an individual with low self esteem and the propensity for behaviours offering short term relief at the expense of longer-term health, such as smoking, substance misuse, poor diet and early or risky sexual activity. These patterns of behaviour are often carried through to successive generation, making the cycle hard to break. It is therefore important to act early when these risk factors are identified.

ACEs include suffering physical, verbal or sexual abuse, and physical or emotional neglect as well as those that affect the environment in which a child grows up (including parental separation, domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug use or incarceration).

Portsmouth’s young people are the future of the city and we will continue to focus on early intervention and protection for young people and their families. We passionately believe that all children deserve the best start in life and we will work tirelessly to ensure that Portsmouth Children have access to opportunity and expectations are high for them.

Our campaign Made It In Portsmouth celebrates their achievements, whilst our campaign Is This Love? helps them to use critical thinking to assess the health of their relationships.

What we will prioritise for the next two years:

Partners have begun to pilot more integrated working practices across police and children and family services to deliver a new model of support for adolescents who have been identified as at particular risk of harm. Tackling child sexual and criminal exploitation, and disrupting county lines drug trafficking will be a key focus. This work builds on the Stronger Futures Programme developed by the Children’s Trust.

  • Work with the Police to develop missing and edge of care services- co-location pilot – with particular focus on victims of child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation
  • Police will work with partners in Children’s Services and NHS services to ensure children engaged in serious violence are supported, appropriate information is shared (including information from the local community)
  • Police will implement Operation Fortress by targeting known drug dealers, disrupting drugs markets and ‘county lines’ using automatic number plate recognition, mobile phone blocking, criminal behaviour orders, and civil orders.
  • Support ‘out of court disposals’20 for those children who are at early stages of offending to divert them from crime in the first place and make appropriate use of the Modern Slavery defence where young people are being exploited
  • Implement Children’s Physical Health strategy, led by Public Health that includes a focus on ACEs
  • Undertake a detailed analysis of the first time entrants cohort
  • Detailed monitoring of school attendance, fixed-term exclusions, reduced timetables and elective home education, followed up by ‘challenge meetings’ lead by the director and deputy director of children’s services where levels are high
  • A refresh of the Portsmouth School Attendance Strategy which will be completed over summer 2018 in advance of a new school attendance campaign to be launched in the Autumn
  • Provide support for the roll out of the strategy to improve wellbeing and resilience in education including restorative practice within schools
  • Provide support for Inclusion Support Panel ‘managed move process’ for hard to place pupils and use of other schools as an alternative to exclusion Ensure all chronic absentees (below 50% school attendance) have a lead professional, in school or in the targeted early help service Development of a refreshed strategy for Alternative Provision that will support reintegration of KS3 pupils from The Harbour School back into mainstream secondary schools
  • Work of the Virtual School to ensure all looked after children (LAC)
    have a Personal Education Plan in place and that schools are challenged and supported if attendance falls and exclusions rise, including targeted use of the LAC Pupil Premium grant. The Virtual School introduced ‘Welfare Call’ last year which provides up to date, daily information on LAC attendance.
  • Work with schools to identify and record hate crime

Self-Help and Early Intervention
The Early Help and Prevention Service, which includes health visitors, staff from the Family Nurse Partnership and school nurses, provide a lead professional service for all children aged 0–19. Services are delivered in family homes, schools and from six family hubs which also provide behaviour management help and activities delivered by Homestart Volunteers.

We also work with the family to develop an ‘Early Help Plan’ in order to address the problems identified and improve outcomes. The service provides a wide range of practical help, for example getting children back to school and attending regularly. We will also:

  • Establish the Targeted Health Visiting service (called ECHO) to work intensively with children and families who are most at risk of poor outcomes
  • Continue to adapt the Family Nurse Partnership programme in line with national requirements to make sure more of our vulnerable teenage parents are able to benefit from the programme
  • Launch the Early Years and Child Care Strategy to integrate our early years settings further with early help for children aged 0–5 year and schools to improve outcomes when measured at Year R
  • Develop the Behaviour Management approach more widely across the city by engaging wider partners in the delivery of this
  • Develop the offer from family hubs to include volunteer-run groups for parents of teenagers
  • Continue to develop the Dadzclub offer from Family Hubs and other community venues which engages all male carers in a variety of innovative and positive ways to support their children
  • Review the early help offer for children and young people aged 5–19 years to make sure that the right children and families are being seen and the most effective interventions are being provided
  • Continue to develop the Team Around the Worker approach through Early Help and the Multi-Agency Locality Teams to reduce referrals and improve the offer to families
  • Embed the Health Related Absence project delivered through School Nursing in all schools to reduce health-related absences
  • Continue to embed Restorative Approach through all of the Early Help services
  • Increase awareness of the Troubled Families programme to embed whole-family, early help working and increase revenue as a result back into Portsmouth City