A client s experience

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1 40 Rapid Action Project (RAP), Rainer, Essex Scheme of special merit award 2006 A client s experience Louis 1 was aged 11 years when police gave him a reprimand following a violent incident at school and he was referred to Rainer RAP. He had already been permanently excluded from his junior school. He was verbally and physically disruptive and aggressive towards pupils and teachers. Louis lived with his father and stepmother, as his mother did not want him to live with her. A RAP worker visited Louis s home and an action plan was put together. The plan tackled his aggression, communication skills, emotional needs, offending behaviour and bullying. At first Louis was very reluctant to admit responsibility for the behaviour that had got him in trouble with the police. He showed no remorse and had no concept of how his actions affected others. Following intensive intervention, including role play, he began to understand the consequences of the assaults and started to change his behaviour. Louis made regular visits into the community with his support worker to challenge his negative behaviour towards members of the public and other young people. The RAP worker supported Louis and eventually he gained a place at a weekly boarding school for young people with educational and behavioural needs. Louis was also helped to improve his relationship with his father and the two of them went on to spend a great deal more time together. As a result Louis has revealed himself to be a bright and confident boy with a real zest for life. 1 All names used in case studies and throughout descriptions of community programmes are pseudonyms.

2 Chapter 2 Early Interventions With Young People 41 Service provider Rainer is a registered charity which has been working for over 200 years. It offers under-supported young people a range of services designed to give them the emotional and practical support they need to lead secure and fulfilled lives. Rainer runs around 55 services and projects nationally, working with thousands of young people each year. Many of the young people have been involved with the criminal justice system, are in, or leaving, care, homeless, may be young parents, or are facing serious deficits in their education, affecting their employment prospects. Rainer has been running the Rapid Action Project (RAP) since Origins of the programme Essex Police realised that many children they came across were placing themselves at risk of offending. The police tried to refer them to partner agencies like social care or schools. RAP grew out of the police s frustration with the lack of support for young people and the idea developed for a project with youth workers based in police stations. Essex Police secured the support of the local Children s Fund (see glossary) and Rainer succeeded in winning the tender. In September 2004, Essex Police and Rainer formed a partnership to launch the project as part of the Proactive Essex Police Youth Strategy. It was the first project of its kind in the country but the model has since been replicated in other regions. Funding RAP was originally funded through the Children s Fund. This allowed RAP to work with children aged 8 to13 years. Funding has subsequently been secured from the Big Lottery, which changed the target group to those aged 10 to16 years and plans to duplicate the project across the country.

3 42 The scheme works in partnership with Essex County Council, Essex Police and Essex Youth Offending Team. Target group RAP receives referrals when a young person aged 10 to 16 years: receives a police reprimand; is engaged in offending behaviour; lives in a family where there is a reported incident of domestic violence; or is at risk of exclusion from school. Referrals Although referrals are mainly made by police officers they can also come from schools or social workers. If a referral is made with the knowledge of the young person and/or family, a RAP worker will phone and make contact straight away and arrange a visit to the young person. If the referral is made without contact with the family or young person, a letter and further information about the service is sent. The scheme aims to make direct contact within two days of a referral. What does the programme do? RAP is an early intervention scheme in Essex targeting 10- to 16-year-olds at risk of offending. Participation in the project is voluntary. Rainer staff are placed in police stations in Harlow, Basildon, Braintree and Rayleigh to provide the low-level, specialist support for children. RAP will receive a referral as soon as a young person comes into contact with the police. This rapid response is the crucial premise on which the project is based. This early intervention to tackle offending behaviour issues aims to prevent the young person from getting sucked into the criminal justice system.

4 Chapter 2 Early Interventions With Young People 43 The project aims to: provide rapid assistance to young people and their families who become known to the police; support young people in crisis, or divert them from offending or anti-social behaviour; assist in improving parent s ability to understand, manage and address their children s behaviour and reduce family conflict; and work with young people and their families who are referred. The RAP worker will work with the child and/or family to assess their needs and work out what support RAP is able to provide. RAP believes that forming good relationships with the wider family and doing so quickly improves the chances of providing effective support for the children. Rainer RAP s strategy is to provide flexible direct support on a whole variety of complex issues, but will refer on to other professional agencies if necessary, such as drug support and mental health teams. The relationship between the RAP worker and the young person is confidential and often takes place away from the home. This allows the young person to open up and makes them feel someone is taking a real interest in them as an individual. RAP workers however will involve the family if appropriate. Workers develop realistic and measurable action plans with young people. These can cover issues such as antisocial behaviour, anger management, bullying and peer pressure, communication skills, school support, family relationships and community participation through activities and local clubs. They also support young people in the classroom, facilitate meetings with their teachers and help with homework.

5 44 RAP usually works with the child over 12 one-hour sessions on a one-to-one basis. These sessions will focus on numerous issues including the consequences of crime, offending behaviour scenarios and the stages of the criminal justice system; or looking at a domestic violence story and discussing how that impacts on the young person. The RAP worker can also act as a mentor. RAP workers can also provide practical support, like ensuring a child attends school. In one instance a truanting schoolgirl was taken to school every morning for four weeks until she felt comfortable and able to go school by herself. Client visit protocol RAP staff work on their own with clients unless the police referral suggested that there could be problems with safety. RAP staff would work in pairs if necessary. Many visits take place in school and if the child is not in school, then visits can occur in the family home or in a public place, for example, a café. RAP staff use a buddy system where, after each visit, they check in with a fellow worker to notify them of their safety. Client numbers During its first year of operation, RAP received 422 referrals. Of these, 60% were for young people living with domestic violence. Monitoring Staff write a report after each session with the young person. It describes how the session went, how they felt, what the session involved and any issues that need to be dealt with. More detailed reports are made if there needs to be a referral to a support agency.

6 Chapter 2 Early Interventions With Young People 45 When work with the child ends, the young person and their family complete a feedback and satisfaction questionnaire. This is used to develop service delivery. When a case has been closed, the RAP worker will call the young person a few weeks later to make sure everything is OK. They will also call the young person s family approximately one month later to check once again. Staffing The project employs five project staff to deliver the face-to-face work with young people and their families. This is the tackling-crime team. The team is line managed by the tackling-crime manager. An administration coordinator supports the team. Rainer s Essex area manager is responsible for the project. The project has a steering group consisting of Rainer staff, police, social services early interventions service and the YOT (see glossary). Staff receive training on equality and diversity issues; risk assessment; motivational interviewing; and child protection. Benefits of the scheme The rapid response to referrals received means that young people and their families see almost immediate action. They are given an immediate, intense and specialised service tackling problematic issues before the young person and family lose interest in accepting support. Rainer regards the placement of RAP staff within police stations as a way to develop an effective channel of communication between the police, staff and partner agencies.

7 46 Evaluation and effectiveness Statistics from RAP show that only 1% of young people who engaged with the project went on to offend. An internal evaluation of parents /carers perceptions showed: 70% noted significant improvements in behaviour and anger management in their children; 90% noted improvements at school; 80% noted significant improvements in self-esteem, self-confidence and self-presentation; and 100% noted increased levels of happiness. Contact details: Rainer Shield House Elizabeth Way Harlow Essex CM19 5AR Tel:

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