Helping you adapt and adopt innovation in children’s social care

Words Ella Walding

On Friday 20 April, we brought together social work leaders and managers from across the UK to learn from innovative approaches to working with adolescents with complex needs.

The event explored how to adapt and adopt North Yorkshire County Council’s No Wrong Door model, an asset-based approach to working with young people with complex needs who are in care or on the edge of care. The model ambitiously aims for permanence for all young people in a family-based setting, based on the firm belief that all young people should be kept safe in their own family and community, and no young person is unfosterable. 

WHY WE NEED NEW APPROACHES

Local authorities face growing numbers of teenagers coming into their care with very diverse needs, including poor mental health, substance misuse, offending behaviour, sexual exploitation and special educational needs. Typically, young people in this cohort come in and out of the care system, experience multiple foster care placements, go missing from care or end up in long-term residential placements, often a very long way from home.

Leaders across the children’s social care system are recognising the need to create new, innovative, evidence-based solutions to work with this highly vulnerable group of young people.

THE IMPACT OF NO WRONG DOOR 

NYCC has developed No Wrong Door over the last 3 years to address these challenges, their independent evaluation demonstrates that this is a successful innovation that improves outcomes and reduces costs:

  • 86% of young people referred to No Wrong Door stayed out of care and were supported by their own families
  • After 18 months of No Wrong Door, the costs of placement moves was reduced by 31% thanks to increased placement stability
  • 55% of No Wrong Door young people spent less time in care than those who weren’t referred into the service
  • 25% Neet young people entering No Wrong Door went on to engage in education, employment or training
  • 1/3 of young people reduced or ceased their substance misuse
  • Missings reduced by 68%, charges by 52% and arrest by 38%
  • No Wrong Door is part of a whole system that has helped to safely reduce the number of children looked after and the number of out of authority placements, resulting in annual cost savings

No Wrong Door impact poster

WIGAN’S STORY

Over the past year, Innovation Unit and North Yorkshire have been collaborating with Wigan Council to adapt No Wrong Door to meet the individual needs of Wigan’s young people and service. Wigan have made the model their own by taking inspiration from the Wigan Deal for children and young people, and existing innovation projects such as ACT and SHARE  PauseSigns of Safety and Mockingbird Family Model.

Wigan are now launching three new hubs based in children’s homes which will integrate social workers, CAMHS, police and speech and language therapists, alongside residential staff and foster carers. The majority of this support will be delivered as outreach in the communities where young people live, meaning the service will meet them where they are.

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SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY TO ADAPT AND ADOPT NO WRONG DOOR

Local authorities attending the event heard presentations from North Yorkshire, Wigan and Innovation Unit colleagues, exploring:

• How to make the case for adopting No Wrong Door;
• What is core to the model and what can be adapted to meet the needs of a local context;
• How to assess readiness to adopt No Wrong Door;
• Where to start and what the process is prior to launch;
• The common barriers and risks and how to overcome them; and
• The resources it takes to implement.

Following Friday’s successful event, we are now taking expressions of interest from local authorities who are looking for similar external help and support from Innovation Unit and North Yorkshire County Council as they embark on journey to adapt and adopt No Wrong Door.

If you would like to know more about the support available for adapting No Wrong Door to your context, please contact Cath Dillon – cath.dillon@innovationunit.org.

No Wrong Door event