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Study to explore ways of combating safeguarding risks beyond the home

A new study is exploring new ways of combating safeguarding risks beyond the family home, has been launched by the University of Sussex.

The Innovate Project will look at safeguarding risks outside the home such as sexual and criminal exploitation, peer-on-peer abuse, and gang affiliation.

Researchers in the £1.9m study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, have already started analysing the innovative approaches taken by six organisations and partnerships across the country in addressing extra-familial risks faced by young people.

Prof Lefevre, Professor of Social Work in the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sussex, said: “We are delighted to have the involvement of these six sites, who are at the vanguard of developing new ways of supporting young people, families and communities.

“We are confident that the learning from this project will inform innovation practice, improve the design and delivery of services, and enhance intervention experiences and outcomes for vulnerable young people and their families.”

Currently in its fieldwork stage, researchers from the universities of Sussex, Oxford and Bedfordshire, and counterparts from Research in Practice and Innovation Unit, will closely study three frameworks supporting service development in the six case study sites.

The three frameworks are:

- Contextual Safeguarding at Devon Children’s Services and Partners and the charity Safer London

- Trauma-informed practice at Brighter Futures for Children in Reading and North Lanarkshire Education and Families Service

- Transitional Safeguarding with the Safeguarding Adults Board for Hackney and Sheffield Children and Families Services.

During 2021-22, the Innovate Project team will observe meetings and practices (virtually, during the pandemic), interview young people, parents and professionals, and examine organisational processes, systems, costs and outcomes.

The study will explore not just whether and how the three approaches lead to beneficial and effective services in the six case studies, but also on what factors stimulate innovation in social care and enable it to flourish.

Collaboration with a wider Learning and Development Network of organisations in the UK and overseas will ensure emergent findings can help stimulate and guide further innovation.

During the final year of the Innovate Project in 2023, key stakeholders will be invited to develop findings into policy recommendations, practice guidance and resources to inform innovation practice, improve the design and delivery of social care, and enhance service experiences and outcomes for vulnerable young people and their families.

The Innovate Project

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