Early help and targeted support for young people

In Barnsley we want all young people to fulfil their true potential and to have a bright future.

Our Targeted Youth Support Service works with young people aged 11-19 years (and those up to 25 with additional needs) to provide targeted support either on a one to one basis or as part of a group or project.

Through early help or the early identification of an issue, we can offer a range of universal and targeted support to reduce or prevent problems or issues from getting worse and bring in the right support at the right time to meet young people’s needs.

Targeted youth support in communities

Our Targeted Youth Support Communities Team provide building based, detached and outreach youth services for young people whose needs cannot always be met by family or universal service provision.

We have youth centres known as our ‘I Know I Can’ Young People's Centres which are located in the following areas of Barnsley:

  • Barnsley town centre
  • Cudworth
  • Dearne
  • Penistone
  • Wombwell

Through these centres we deliver targeted twilight and evening youth support along with detached and outreach sessions where there is an identified need within the community.

Our evening and group sessions can explore a range of issues including:

  • Building self-esteem, confidence and resilience
  • General well being and promoting positive mental health
  • Work around feelings, emotions and associated behaviours
  • Promoting positive social and peer relationships
  • Risk taking behaviours such as sex, drugs, and alcohol
  • Personal safety, child exploitation, online safety, health relationships
  • Personal and social development (signposting to find work, education and training opportunities and building life and work readiness)
  • Positive focused activities, for example, stop smoking, anti-bullying week and seasonal events
  • Study and education support
  • Promoting positive citizenship and enabling young people to have a voice

Our youth services are delivered by a team of professionally qualified youth workers who promote young people’s personal and social development. This enables them to have a voice, influence and place in their communities and society as a whole which builds resilience, character and gives young people the confidence and life skills they need to live, learn, work and achieve.

The Targeted Youth Support Communities Team also offer bespoke programmes, often in partnership with other agencies or services, to meet young peoples' needs within the community. Our offer is based on group work practice and programmes are delivered to focus on a particular theme or issue.

We also deliver specific sessions for young people who are SEND and young people who are LGBTQ. These groups operate on a referral basis. For further information please contact the Wombwell IKIC on 01226 753406.

Listening to young people

Youth Voice and Participation Team

There are lots of opportunities for young people to get involved and have a say in how services are delivered and our team of youth voice and participation workers are creative in actively encouraging young people to exercise their rights and take part in the decision making processes which affect them.

Barnsley’s Youth Council for example, are a group of local young people who are elected by their peers to represent the views of other young people locally, regionally and nationally. The Youth Council work closely with Barnsley Council and other service providers to ensure that young people’s views are taken into account when services and facilities are being designed or changed.

There are also a number of issue related forums where young people with a common interest can socialise with their peers whilst informing service delivery and improvements. Barnsley’s SEND Youth Forum and Children in Care (Care4Us) Council are examples of where young people can get involved and influence services specific to their own needs and work with key partners to develop opportunities for young people.

Children's Rights Team

Whether you are a child or young person in care or a care leaver, you have the right to be consulted with about what happens to you and to ensure that your views, wishes and feelings are taken into account in decisions being made.  Our Children’s Rights Team provides an advocacy support service to young people who want help or support on a decision that has been made on their behalf which they are not satisfied with.  The team supports young people to express their thoughts and views across through the provision of a Children’s Rights Advocate.

Independent Visitors Team

Our Independent Visitors Team works with children in care and care leavers to provide an adult volunteer mentor who can befriend and support a young person with access to positive activities, guidance and advice. An independent visitor will act in the best interests of the child who is independent of their care and can act impartially on their behalf.

The team work on a referral basis to ensure that young people are matched to an appropriate and suitable adult volunteer mentor.

Early help and one to one support

Where issues are more entrenched or complex for young people, the Communities Team can work on a one to one basis to offer a more tailored approach.

Referrals can be made using the Request for Early Help Targeted Support Application Form which is available on our Families Information Service website. Completed requests for help should be returned via earlyhelp@barnsley.gov.uk.

On receipt of a referral a decision is made to determine the most appropriate support package through a panel of multi agency professionals.

When issues involve the wider family network, the Targeted Youth Support Service will work closely with partners from Family Support to ensure that wider needs are considered, in particular, if an Early Help Assessment is required.

One to one Early Help for young people can cover a range of issues including:

  • Personal resilience
  • Low level mental health support
  • Emotional health and wellbeing support
  • Promoting positive and healthy relationships
  • Addressing risk taking behaviours such as sex, drugs, and alcohol
  • Family conflict and breakdown
  • Child exploitation
  • Exploring gender and identity
  • Preventing offending behaviour
  • Substance and alcohol misuse
  • Preventing young people from going missing
  • Sexual health

Young people missing from home or care

When a young person who has been missing is found safe and well by South Yorkshire Police, the Targeted Youth Support Service will offer an impartial Return Home Interview within 72 hours of their return. This interview gives the young person an opportunity to personally share the circumstances of what led to their missing event with someone independent from their care which in turn, can help to identify issues which may have contributed.

A Return Home Interview Officer will seek to explore some of the push and pull factors that led to a missing episode and whether a young person came to any harm. They will listen to the young person to ensure that their voice is captured in why they went missing with a view to preventing further episodes. The team can help to broker additional support where identified as well as provide advice and guidance to the young person and family to build resilience and reduce future risk.

Return Home Interview officers work closely with other agencies such as the Police, Children’s Social Care and Early Help providers as part of a multi agency missing response to understand any wider concerns around a child or young person that require a response or escalation to prevent and reduce further risk or harm.

For further information on Return Home Interviews you can contact the Targeted Youth Support Service on 01226 753406.

You can also read South Yorkshire children missing from home and care protocol 2021, currently under review - June 2023.  To pass on information about contextual safeguarding to the police you can fill in the South Yorkshire Police intelligence referral form.  This should only be filled in when not meeting the threshold for a referral to social care and the child is not at risk.