Posted: 16 April 2019

Social work professionals show concern over the numbers of 16 and 17 year olds who need support

Approaching adulthood can be a challenging time for any child but especially for those 16 and 17 year olds who have been exposed to domestic violence or exploitation.

Our Crumbling Futures report showed that this group of young people are more likely miss out on education and employment, rely on benefits and experience homelessness at some point in their life.

We carried out a survey with the British Association of Social Workers to find out more about support for vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds across the UK.

Support services aren't meeting the needs of young people

Social work professionals identified mental health, poverty and drug misuse as the top three issues affecting 16 and 17 year olds known to children’s services in their areas.

Almost 80% of these professionals who responded to the survey reported an increase in the number of 16 and 17 year olds requiring support from children’s services in the last 5 years.

'I think it is down to age and limited resources - in a time of austerity, limited resources will focus on younger children who are at significant risk' - Social Worker

Sadly, the majority also confirmed what is known from research and national statistics -  support available for these young people had also decreased in that same time period, and almost no support is available post 18.

Support services should be based on need, not age

More than 90% of social workers who responded to our survey would like to see improvements in the way vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds are supported.

They would like the government to adress the £3 billion gap in children's services funding, support services to be extended to 25 years old, and for child and adult services to work together.

Social work professionals to speak in parliament

On 30 April, we and other organisations who work with 16 and 17 year olds, will be holding an event in Parliament to showcase potential solutions to the complex problems 16 and 17 year olds face.

We’re calling on Government to use our recommendations to develop a better way to support older teenagers to transition into adulthood

You can help by inviting your MP along to find out how we can help young people succeed as they move into adult life.  


By Kaja Zuvac-Graves

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