No Wrong Door is a tried-and-tested approach, developed by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), that works with adolescents who are in care or on the edge of care. This new approach is currently being implemented by a number of Local Authorities as part of the Department for Education’s Strengthening Families Protecting Children (SFPC) programme. Innovation Unit and NYCC are working in partnership to help local authorities adopt and adapt this new approach to their local system as part of SFPC, as they have done in recent years in Bradford, Sheffield, and six authorities in Greater Manchester.
Evidence shows that young people coming into care as adolescence may not get the support they need. They may be sent to ‘out of area’ placements, far from their friends and family. Outcomes in later life for many care-experienced young people are often poor.
There are 30,000 looked after children living ‘out of area’ in England. This is 41% of all children in care. More than 11,000 of those are more than 20 miles away from where they would call home. Over 2,000 are more than 100 miles away.
Some 52% of these children have special educational needs and a quarter have social, emotional and mental health identified as their primary need.
About the innovation
No Wrong Door is an integrated service and approach which attempts to provide reliable, caring and effective support to adolescents facing significant risks in care or on the edge of the care. The model combines residential children’s homes, specialist fostering, high needs supported lodgings and bespoke placements with an outreach offer to young people living with their families.
The team has a defined culture and practice based on multidisciplinary and collaborative working with residential staff, therapists, psychologists and social workers working together through a shared practice framework.
At the heart of the model is a hub based in a children’s home, which provides short-term residential placements and outreach support to 30-40 young people at any one time.
One of the goals is to reduce the number of young people coming into care, and to support those already in care to find permanence in a family-based setting – either through long-term foster care, reunification with their families or independence
At the heart of the approach is the key worker relationship with the young person, which aims to be long-term and reliable – focused on sticking with the young person.
With the support of the multi-disciplinary team, including a Speech and Language therapist (known as a Communication Support Worker), Clinical Psychologist (known as a Life Coach) and Police representatives, all co-located within the NWD Hub, the worker is able to draw on a range of placements options, services and outreach support to meet the young person’s needs and support them to achieve their goals.
A short, animated film depicting the experiences of a young woman who is at risk of being taken into care has been produced by Innovation Unit, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). Watch below:
Who is involved?
Innovation Unit first worked with the No Wrong Door team as part of the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. Our current role, working in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council, is to support each local authority adopting the innovation in understanding the No Wrong Door vision and values, practice and culture, interrogating its ways of working and adapting these for their local context. We use a learning and coaching approach, which aims to build capability, build a shared understanding of the project’s vision, desired outcomes and design principles, and focus on the specific needs of a locality’s young people.
No Wrong Door was independently evaluated between January 2015 and March 2017 by Loughborough University. The analysis showed that the model offered significant financial savings, improved outcomes for young people and reductions in numbers of children looked after.
Key benefits included a 92% reduction in hospital admissions, 86% of young people remaining out of care and being supported by their own families, a reduction of 2,210 bed nights – saving the equivalent of £1.8m in staff time, and just one out-of-area placements used in North Yorkshire.
“It’s much better than I thought it would be. I have a key worker. I can’t think of anything they could do better, I can talk to any of the staff if I need to”, young person in North Yorkshire.