A new Council-led partnership to support and safeguard young people has launched with a week-long digital event involving more than 800 delegates.
The new Integrated Adolescent Safeguarding Service (IASS) is made up of Havering’s Youth Service, Adolescent Safeguarding team and Youth Justice service, as well as social care and health professionals. The IASS launched with a virtual conference and saw sessions delivered by local partners – including the police, housing, health and other external speakers.
The 19 virtual sessions focused on issues such as social inequality, the adolescent brain, preventing school exclusions, multi-agency partnerships and communicating with young people.
The theme song for the event was written and performed by China, a young person from Havering.
The music provided a small glimpse of the work being carried out with young people in Havering and provided a thought-provoking insight into the life of some young people and some of the challenges they face. It highlighted the importance of working with partner agencies and young people.
A number of internal speakers contributed their expertise to the sessions.
Among the keynote speakers were:
• John Drew, former Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board, and Cheryle Davies, Assistant Director of Youth and Family Resilience at the London Borough of Waltham Forest, spoke about their learning and actions following a serious case review into the death of Child C, a child who was supported by a number of agencies.
• DC Anoushka Dunic offered an offer insight into street gangs, County Lines and exploitation. Delegates were able to learn about the different stages of exploitation, and how to recognise some of the signs and symptoms of children who may have been exploited.
• Keith Fraser, Chair of Youth Justice Board for England and Wales and Steve Andrews, Group Manager (IASS) discussed social inequality and the disproportionate representation of young people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and how this is addressed as a partnership
The new service aims to look after the wellbeing of children and supports to reduce their risk of harm from exploitation. It will target 10-to-18 year olds, and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, up to the age of 25.
Councillor Robert Benham, Havering’s Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families, said:
“At the heart of this service is ensuring that young people feel safe outside of their home, so it was important that we listened to what they had to say. We were able to work alongside them in developing and implementing the new strategy and service.
“By hosting the virtual conference we have a greater insight into some of the areas we should be focusing on, such as sharing information with young people and building the skills of the youth workforce.”