The practice problem
Safeguarding young people from extra-familial risks or harm is complicated through the fact that binary notions of childhood and adulthood continue to prevail in society and within social care. There are a range of arguments for more fluid and transitional approaches for young people entering adulthood:
What is Transitional Safeguarding?
Transitional Safeguarding is an emergent concept, which aims to stimulate evidence-informed multi-agency local safeguarding systems change across services for children’s and adults’ safeguarding. The term was coined following a review of practice evidence by Research in Practice and engagement with the sector. Innovation based on Transitional Safeguarding will be informed by evidence of the distinctive developmental needs of adolescents transitioning into young adulthood, and better reflect the connected nature of harm and its impact for individuals, services and society.
Transitional safeguarding has three distinctive characteristics:
The case studies
Local areas engaging with Transitional Safeguarding are already beginning to apply the approach in systems re-design and service delivery. This developmental stage makes the prospect of researching innovation in this context an exciting one, with opportunities for the Innovate Project to map closely how developments unfold and what challenges and opportunities are encountered along the way. Two different local authorities, organisations or networks in the UK will be involved as case studies of Transitional Safeguarding. Each case study will look at how practice or service innovations are developed in that specific system. We will consider why Transitional Safeguarding was chosen for that context and how local factors influence the way it is interpreted and implemented. We will explore the specific levers and barriers to innovation which are encountered in each site. Through this, we will learn more about the effectiveness of the Transitional Safeguarding approach and how it might be scaled and spread elsewhere.
Articles and briefing papers
Nathalie Huegler and Gillian Ruch, (2021) ‘Risk, vulnerability and complexity: transitional safeguarding as a reframing of binary perspectives’, in Practice: Social Work in Action, free to download at https://doi.org/10.1080/09503153.2021.1932787
Latest blogs on Transitional Safeguarding
Dr Gillian Ruch discusses the challenge of relationships, risk and power being at the heart of innovation in social care contexts. What was moving to adulthood like for you? Getting to grips with the concept of transitional safeguarding
Find out why transitional safeguarding is so fundamental to the way in which we interact with young people, and how we can implement and innovate it in future. Rhetorical reflections on innovation, Transitional Safeguarding and extra-familial risks and harm
The work of project partners, 'Research in Practice'.
A short video introducing Transitional Safeguarding and how it will be featured in the Innovate Project has been produced by Dez Holmes and Susannah Bowyer, from Research in Practice.
The concept was first coined by Research in Practice’s strategic briefing Transitional safeguarding- adolescence to adulthood, published in 2018. This was followed up in 2021 by their Knowledge Briefing ‘Bridging the Gap: transitional safeguarding and the role of social work with adults’ produced in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Social Worker for Adults, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, BASW, Care and Health Improvement Programme, NWG Network, and police colleagues.
Dez Holmes has also produced a longer video on supporting young people to transition to adulthood and safeguarding from harm: Risks, Resilience and Relationships: Safeguarding adolescents into adulthood.
More information about Transitional Safeguarding theory, and what it means for practice, will be found on this site as findings emerge.
Who is involved with this strand of the project?
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