Traditionally youth work has always been an effective way to engage young people that don't access other services or who don't reach the threshold for statutory intervention.
Yet the needs identified by youth workers for some young people are complex, trauma-based and in some cases high risk. This includes those young people most vulnerable to grooming for gangs, CCE and CSE or already caught up in criminal behaviour, not always by choice. But what is our role?
Are we there to protect, advocate, educate, signpost or is our role becoming even more specialised, encompassing a blend of all of these and more, often referred to as 'contextualised safeguarding'? If so how does this fit with other professions, including teachers, social workers and even the police, whose work we have no wish to replicate or take on to prop up over-stretched services?
Importantly, how will contextualised safeguarding affect our existing relationships with the young people and communities we work in and are we ready for it?
This teabreak we invite you to bring your experiences, thoughts and opinions of this new addition to the safeguarding toolbox to stop and take stock over a cuppa.