Delivering asset-based services for young people

Words Cath Dillon

This time last week we took part in a conference hosted by North Yorkshire County Council to share how the No Wrong Door model has helped rethink care for adolescents.

No Wrong Door is an innovative way to provide flexible support to young people who are in care or on the edge of care. The model aims for permanence in a family setting for all adolescents with complex needs by integrating residential care, foster care, speech and language support, mental health services and the police into a single hub that is based in a residential home and works with about 40 young people at any one time.

In terms of evidence of impact, No Wrong Door is:

  • Reducing risky behaviours: nearly one third of young people under No Wrong Door had ceased or reduced their substance misuse.
  • Keeping young people out of care: 86% of young people referred to No Wrong Door continued to remain out of the care system.
  • Creating placement stability: there has been a decrease in placement moves since No Wrong Door began.
  • Generating cost savings: No Wrong Door has resulted in an annual cost saving of approximately £600,000.

From these findings, the conference generated a set of provocations that underpin and inform new asset-based models like No Wrong Door. For example:

  • Would this be good enough for my child?
  • Are we managing risk for the organisation or risk to the young person?
  • Is there a shared approach to parenting the young person from across partner agencies?
  • What kind of adult do we want them to be when they are 20? 35? 50?

We know that children’s services are facing pressures to improve the long-term outcomes of looked after children for lower costs. Therefore, whole-system approaches that build on existing local improvement and innovation work, as well as look further afield for inspiration from innovative practice in a range of contexts, are what’s needed to achieve this vision.

At Innovation Unit we are working with Wigan Council, supporting them to implement ‘Deal for Children’, a new asset-based service for those in need of help and protection. Inspired by their own innovation projects – ACT, SHARE – and in part, the No Wrong Door approach, Wigan is in the process of co-designing a model with young people at its heart – one that helps to ensure that every child and young person becomes a confident, resilient adult. In line with No Wrong Door’s values, Wigan will make sure that all young people are cared for in a family-based setting.

Remodelling the social care system in this way is an ambitious, complex challenge requiring strong and effective leadership, and the creation of new partnership arrangements with a range of local partners. Over the coming months, we will be supporting Wigan Council to:

  • Develop their vision and outcomes.
  • Develop their approach for an asset-based service and practice model.
  • Roadmap ahead for implementation and change.
  • Learn from elsewhere, including North Yorkshire County Council’s No Wrong Door model.

More information about the Wigan story will be published later this year. In the meantime, for more information, please contact Cath Dillon