SHiFT Kingston & Richmond opened as SHiFT’s first pilot Practice, in collaboration with Achieving for Children, in January 2021. The Practice was based within the Targeted Youth Support Service and alongside the Youth Justice Service in Achieving for Children and supported 22 of the Borough’s most vulnerable children and young people. 21 of the 22 children supported were boys, and most (n=18) were 15-18 years old and identified as being of Mixed or Multiple ethnicity. All children supported had high rates of exclusion from school, were assessed by professionals to be at high risk of exploitation and had frequent court appearances. All had documented substance misuse vulnerabilities and speech/language difficulties. Almost 70% had documented missing episodes.
By the end of their time with SHiFT children supported by the Practice were:
In conflict with the law less often and for less severe offences – a 50% reduction in reoffending with the majority of new offences of reduced severity, and mostly for possession of cannabis.
Going missing less often – by the end of SHiFT only 26% of children were going missing compared to 68% with histories of missing episodes at the start of SHiFT. The number of times children were going missing had also decreased significantly. One child had 83 missing episodes in 2020 and in 2021, while working with SHiFT, this was reduced to 3.
Back into the classroom or work – on starting with SHiFT 81% (n=18) of children were NEET and by the end of SHiFT this had reduced to 36% (n=8) with 10 children having returned to the classroom or work.
'I have time to run the race next to them, cry with them, show up for them. It’s beautiful.’ (SHiFT Guide, 2022)
Many of the children SHiFT worked with in Kingston and Richmond turned 18 while working with their Guide. One of the Practice’s particular strengths was working across this transition, providing continued support at a time when many other services fall away. The importance of provision across this age transition, and the power of SHiFT’s intensive practice approach for working with children in this age group were two key learnings identified by Achieving for Children. These have informed the adaptation of their services and SHiFT’s legacy within local services.
‘Not going to lie, it’s been calm. You listened to me when others didn’t.’ (Michael, 18, July 2022)
‘Thank you so much for your kind words and support. For the first time in two years of this journey I felt today that we wasn’t being judged negatively as parents and we have for once been offered genuine honest consistent support.’ (Parent of a child supported by SHiFT, May 2021)
Listen to SHiFT Guides in Kingston & Richmond talking about their work: