WELCOME

Growing up is a tough time for any young person. Presented with a variety of choices – often with risks attached – they can feel uncertain about their future. During this period of development, many young people can experience personal difficulties. Certain young people, however, face more extreme problems than others and are considered to be particularly at risk. School excludees and truants, young offenders, looked-after children, and children of substance misusing parents are among those who are especially vulnerable to the dangers of drugs. Their circumstances can have a negative impact on their health, personal safety and education, and can leave them vulnerable to criminal activity and, critically, problematic drug use. It’s vital that these young people are equipped with the necessary skills and support to help them lead a full healthy life. The experiences of these young people are likely to be more intense, their lifestyles more chaotic, and their vulnerability to substance misuse more acute than those of other young people. Indeed, while Class A drug use among young people generally has been stable since 1998 at around 8%, among vulnerable young people the figure is closer to 13%1. Targeted intervention work is needed, including coordination among a wide range of stakeholders, from education, the voluntary sector and public sector services. This is essential to help those who are more vulnerable become aware of the risks associated with substance misuse and to help them develop the skills to make more positive choices for themselves.

IN THIS ISSUE
This FRANK Action Update aims to give you the low down on certain groups of young people who are considered to be among the most vulnerable in society today. It contains essential information on the issues they face, along with activities and advice on how to engage with them, gain their trust, and help orientate them towards a brighter future. The pack explores key issues such as self-esteem, opportunities, relationships, and, of course, drugs, equipping you with tools to facilitate communications and prevention work on substance misuse in your area.

CONTENTS:
FRANK IN ACTION VITAL STATISTICS MOVERS AND SHAKERS IDEAS FOR ACTION USEFUL RESOURCES Feedback from the public and local networks Statistics and insights into communicating with the vulnerable Snapshots of positive practice Ideas and inspiration for working with vulnerable young people Useful contacts, publications, resources and websites 2 4 33 36 40

LOOSE SHEETS:
FRANK ACTIVITIES FRANK Selecta! Moral dilemmas What a difference a day makes Esteeming ahead! Looking after you/looking out for others The FRANKbee flyer FRANK solutions Know your herd Drugs – the law 10 ways to reach vulnerable young people Order your FRANK resources

FRANK FACTS FRANK TIPS MORE FRANK

The core audience for this Update is those who currently work (or are seeking to work) with young FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference people who are particularly vulnerable.
FRANK Action Update – Understanding Crack Cocaine 1

FRANK IN ACTION
FRANK was launched in May 2003 and, in the first two years, has received over 1 million calls to the helpline resulting in 35,000 referrals to treatment and services. More than 2.4 million visits have been made to www.talktofrank.com with over 200,000 visits to the service listings and FRANK has responded to 62,480 emails. By the start of the third year of the campaign, 5181 stakeholders had registered at www.drugs.gov.uk/frank and have been integrating FRANK into their local drug communications activities.
For news on how FRANK is progressing, and details of future plans, make sure you register at www.drugs.gov.uk/frank (formally www.drugs.gov.uk/Campaign)

FRANK FEEDBACK
A Department of Health ‘Caller Satisfaction’ survey in 2005 aimed to assess the effectiveness of the helpline. Whilst ongoing monitoring remains essential, results so far have been encouraging:
100 90 81% said they would be ‘very likely’ to recommend to a friend or family member 80 70 60 79% said they would be ‘very likely’ to call again 50 40 30 20 10 % 53% rated the service as ‘excellent’

FRANK THANKS
FRANK would like to thank the following organisations for taking part in important research that has made a significant contribution to this pack and to the direction of the campaign as a whole. Without their contributions this pack would have not been possible. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Barnardo's Policy Unit BAWYC (Barnardo's Action With Young Carers) BASE (Barnardo's Against Sexual Exploitation) Brighton Oasis Project Children's Rights (Leeds) COSMA (Children of substance misusing adults) Foyer Federation Get Real Team (Rotherham) MASH (Manchester) Motiv8 (Portsmouth) New Horizon Youth Centre Potteries Housing Association POW (Nottingham) STARS Project Southern Focus Trust (Portsmouth) Stonham Housing SW5 (Young Men's Project) The Connection at St Martin's The Who Cares? Trust

More FRANK facts from the survey
• The average length of a call to the helpline is around 11 minutes • 28% of callers in the survey were aged 24 or under, 28% were calling ‘as a parent’ • Only 4% of callers said they had had difficulty finding the number

KEEP IN TOUCH!
Tell us what you’re doing – and what people are saying locally about FRANK – by emailing the campaign team at frank@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

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79% of those referred to a 3rd party said they were ‘very likely’ to get in touch

9% thought it was ‘quite good’

35% rated it ‘very good’

THE TOPLINE
THE NEW STRATEGIC DIRECTION
From Summer 2005, FRANK entered a new phase of development. Building on the awareness of the campaign to date, the new strategic direction focuses on building affinity with FRANK and has a broader focus. The campaign now includes activity on ALL illegal drugs (rather than the previous focus on Class A), volatile substance abuse (VSA) and also incorporates information on legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. FRANK continues to contribute to the Government’s Public Service Agreements (PSAs) – or performance targets – on drugs. The targets fall into three main categories:

T1. YOUNG PEOPLE (USAGE):
Reduce the use of Class A drugs and the frequent use of any illicit drug among all young people under the age of 25, especially by the most vulnerable young people.

T2. TREATMENT:
Increase the participation of problem drug users in drug treatment programmes by 100% by 2008 [from 102,000 in 1998/9] and increase year-on-year the proportion of users successfully sustaining or completing treatment programmes.

T3. HARM / CRIME / SUPPLY:
Reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs (as measured by the Drug Harm Index encompassing measures of the availability of Class A drugs and drug-related crime) including substantially increasing the number of drug misusing offenders entering treatment through the Criminal Justice System.

These PSAs are also reflected in the Every Child Matters: Change for Children2 programme – a Government initiative from DfES focusing on the well-being of children and young people up to the age of 19. The programme embraces five key outcomes aiming for every child to have the necessary support to: • • • • • Be healthy Stay safe Enjoy and achieve Make a positive contribution Achieve economic well-being

Drugs are closely related to poor outcomes for young people. Choosing not to take illegal drugs has been identified as an aim within the outcome ‘Be healthy’.
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VITAL STATISTICS
THE LOWDOWN
FRANK’S ROLE
Through the campaign, FRANK can help Drug Action Teams and Children’s Services to achieve their targets and improve joint outcomes for young people, their families and the community via: • Communication with parents, young people and carers to prevent and delay the onset and escalation of drug use • Increasing the number of appropriate referrals to support and treatment via the FRANK helpline

New young people drug prevention guidance has integrated the objectives of the Updated Drug Strategy and Every Child Matters. They have been brought together in Every Child Matters: change for children – young people and drugs. FRANK remains a cross-government campaign, however certain changes in the departments’ respective areas of responsibility have been agreed by DfES, Home Office and the Department of Health. DfES now takes the lead with regard to young people and prevention policy and shares the delivery for this with the Home Office. The Home Office is responsible for the drug strategy and is the lead on PSA Target 1, whilst the Department of Health has responsibility for policy and delivery of treatment and services.

FRANK AUDIENCES
To maximise the effectiveness of FRANK, the target audiences for communications have been re-prioritised as follows:

PRIORITY 1
• Vulnerable Young People (see ‘Who are Vulnerable Young People)

PRIORITY 2
• 11-18’s (especially those contemplating or already dabbling with drugs) • Parents (with the priority being parents of 11-14 year olds)

PRIORITY 3
• 19-24’s (especially regular or problematic drug users)

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WHO ARE VULNERABLE YOUNG PEOPLE?
At certain times in their lives, particularlly during times of change – such as the transition from primary to secondary school – all young people can find themselves vulnerable. This includes susceptibility to the temptations and risks of drug use. However, some groups can be particularly at risk. These groups include: • Young offenders • Young people exploited by prostitution • Looked-after children (those in care/foster care etc) • Young homeless • Children of problematic drug users • School excludees/truants • Young refugees These young people have been identified as a key priority audience for FRANK communications. Profiles on these groups and an overview of some of the specific issues they face can be found on pages 10-27 in this Update.

HIGH FOCUS AREAS

FURTHER PRIORITY
30 High Focus Areas have been selected on the basis of local need and levels of current service provision including deprived/high crime areas where drug misuse problems are prevalent. The objectives in these high focus areas are to: • Develop and test a best practice model • Make an early and sustained impact on delivery of drug services for children and young people National FRANK activity in these areas includes an increased presence on radio, advertising on phone boxes and peer-to-peer street marketing, developed with support from local stakeholders.

Thurrock, Essex, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Camden, Southwark, Lambeth, Newham, Redcar & Cleveland, Stockton-On-Tees, Middlesbrough, Bolton, Liverpool, Knowsley, Rochdale, Cumbria, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Plymouth, Birmingham, Kingston Upon Hull, Bradford, Barnsley, Calderdale.

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VITAL STATISTICS
THE LOWDOWN
FRANK COMMUNICATION – THE YEAR AHEAD
ADVERTISING, PR AND PARTNERSHIPS
A new round of satellite TV and radio advertising will encourage trust in FRANK as the expert source of help and advice on drugs. Media activity is scheduled to begin from October 2005 and adverts will be available to view on www.drugs.gov.uk/frank. PR will continue to drive the FRANK message through features in print and broadcast media to help bust the myths and challenge the taboos around talking about drugs – particularly between parents and their children – and there will be an increased focus on activity with professional and trade press. Following on from the success of initiatives with partner organisations (such as BT, Channel U and Sainsburys), the campaign will be seeking further partnerships to help disseminate the FRANK message in places where young people and/or their parents are likely to be.

STAKEHOLDER SUPPORT
FRANK will be aiming to widen its stakeholder base further, to include more professionals who work with young people but are outside of the drug field, (such as teachers, children’s services, the criminal justice system and social services). Support for stakeholders will continue with the publication of two FRANK Action Updates – one concentrating on self-esteem issues and life skills for young people, the other containing detailed information on drugs and drug issues for professionals whose main area of expertise is work with young people rather than drugs. Locally-focused PR and street marketing activities will take place in high focus areas and the campaign is developing initiatives to help support those who are working directly with vulnerable young people in a mentoring capacity. Support activity for parents is also in the pipeline.

DANOS
Professionals outside of the drug and alcohol field may find it useful to familiarise themselves with the Drugs & Alcohol National Occupational Standards (DANOS). These specify the standards of performance that drugs and alcohol professionals work towards and are applicable to anyone whose work involves the need to deal with issues arising from drug use (including teachers, social workers, police officers, probation officers and employers as well as health-care professionals). DANOS also outline the skills, knowledge and understanding that individuals and agencies need in order to meet these standards. See www.danos.info for full details.

ONLINE AND IN PRINT
Both www.talktofrank.com and www.drugs.gov.uk/frank are being redeveloped to make them more accessible and FRANK leaflets are currently being updated to ensure that all materials reflect the FRANK ‘look’ and audience priorities.There will also be an additional leaflet available on harm minimisation/treatment and young people’s services, plus tailored materials for vulnerable young people. Publication details will be outlined on the new site www.drugs.gov.uk/frank nearer the time.

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
A number of risk factors have been identified that can increase a child or young person’s vulnerability to the misuse of drugs. Studies have shown that social deprivation, difficulties at home or at school and behavioural problems all play a key role. According to the Health Advisory Service5, key indicators include a tolerant attitude towards drugs and/or substance misuse within the family, poor or inconsistent parenting skills (from parents or carers) and family conflict and disruption. Mental health problems, alienation, early peer rejection, early persistent behaviour problems, academic problems, low commitment to school, association with peers who use drugs and the early onset of tobacco or alcohol use can also increase a young person’s vulnerability. In this section, we profile some of the key groups of young people who have been highlighted as among the more vulnerable in the UK today. It is important to remember that, while ‘membership’ of these groups can make young people more vulnerable to the effects of drug misuse, not all of them will use drugs themselves. However, these profiles aim to provide a snapshot of their circumstances to help inform your activities with them. Truancy, being in the care system or coming into contact with the Criminal Justice System can be common to many so additional information has been provided on these issues.

WHEN ARE YOUNG PEOPLE MOST VULNERABLE?
The risk of a vulnerable young person taking drugs intensifies when they: • Have family problems – making it more likely that they spend more time on the streets, get stressed and depressed and are more easily influenced by older, disaffected peers • Play truant from school – which suggests a child has lost respect for authority and is at risk of adopting an alternative lifestyle involving drugs and possibly crime • Are taken into care – an experience which often leaves young people feeling powerless and isolated • Leave care or a Young Offenders Institute – both of which involve losing some support and continuity and having to face up to a new ‘adult’ life with few friends, no job, no academic qualifications, possibly a criminal record and the prospect of grim housing conditions • Become homeless – a time that is stressful and the point at which young people often turn to drugs for comfort

• Feel unloved – which prompts them to be careless about their health and future • Are neglected or abused at home – lowering their self confidence and (especially with girls) leaving them vulnerable to people who prey on their insecurities Young people are at their most vulnerable when they feel they have no one to turn to with their problems. Many try to struggle on until their problems become known to someone in authority.

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
DRUGS: THE RISKS, THE SIGNS AND WHAT TO DO
EFFECTS AND RISKS
Drugs are unpredictable, and there’s no telling how different substances will affect different people. The effects of a drug will also vary and/or intensify if mixed with alcohol or other drugs. Other factors to bear in mind include: drug composition; the amount taken; the emotional and physical state of the person taking the drug; company and context. All drugs carry the risk of mental or physical harm. Some are more dangerous than others and are more likely to result in serious damage or death. But even the misuse of legal substances can put users at risk. The sniffing and inhalation of solvents, for instance, can result in instant death. Log on to the A-Z of drugs at www.talktofrank.com for detailed information on the risks and effects of different drugs. However, many of the signs could be due to things other than drugs. For instance, young people – and particularly the more vulnerable can be secretive at the best of times, unwilling to share information about how they think or feel or what they get up to. Likewise, the life experiences of vulnerable young people could impact significantly upon their appearance, mood and behavioural patterns. Don’t assume it’s always to do with drugs! Signs of drug use may also be more difficult to spot if the use is occasional. Only regular drug misuse will leave obvious, discernible marks.

THE SIGNS
So, how can you tell if young people you know or work with are taking drugs? Telltale signs might include: • Lack of money and increasing involvement in crime, especially theft • Stains and smells: fingers, hands and clothing can become soiled and stained, while the smell of cigarette-smoke, cannabis and gas can linger for some time • Lying • Aggression • Mood-swings or loss of appetite • Secretiveness: drug users tend to be very closed off, reluctant to share information even with friends • Sleepiness and drowsiness • Sudden changes in behaviour • Loss of interest in school, hobbies, sport, friends • Steady weight loss • Neglect of personal appearance and hygiene

EVIDENCE
For additional confirmation of drug use, you may find that drug paraphernalia is more evident than drugs themselves. Things to look out for include: • Scorched pieces of tinfoil • Razor blades • Discarded aerosol cans, tubes of glue, lighters • Blackened spoons • Homemade pipes • Syringes • Rizla papers, torn rizla packets

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WHAT TO DO
The most important thing when talking to young people about drugs – and particularly vulnerable young people, who are often more resistant to advice and information – is to build a solid foundation of trust. Come at it calmly; listen to what they have to say, and reassure them that it’s OK for them to talk to you openly about what they’ve been doing. If you overreact or censure them for their behaviour, you’re likely to lose that trust in an instant and shut down lines of communication. Vulnerable young people can take a lot of coaxing and encouragement to open up, but will be out of the door in a flash if they get even a whiff of a lecture or a sermon. Trying to persuade young people to just ‘say no’ or that drugs are wrong and bad will get you nowhere. Instead, nudge them towards alternative options; get them to consider other means of release and escape and excitement. Before you engage with them, make sure you’re up to speed with the latest drug facts. Some ‘street-lingo’ could come in handy. Knowing your ‘blow’ from your ‘whizz’, for instance, will earn you some respect. It’s also essential that you are clear about your organisation’s policy on drugs so that you know exactly where you stand: there may be certain limits on what you can and can’t say or recommend.

REDUCING THE HARM
If young people do take drugs, it is important that they know what they are doing. Young people often think they know the score, but are often ignorant as to the actual risks and effects of drugs. For instance, they are often unaware of the risks of mixing drugs with alcohol and/or other substances. It is essential they know that certain cocktails can be lethal: • Cocaine and tranquillisers: can confuse the heart and increase the risk of overdose • Crack cocaine and alcohol, barbiturates or heroin: increases the risk of overdose • Heroin and alcohol: can be fatal • Heroin and LSD: can cause unpredictable and unpleasant effects • Ecstasy with LSD (known as ‘candyflipping’): can conceal the warning signs of a bad trip • Speed and anti-depressants or alcohol: can be fatal They should also be aware of the social problems and risks to their own personal safety associated with drugs, such as aggression, violence, accidents and crime. Make them aware of the following harm reduction tips: • If taking ecstasy, sip water, juice or sports fluids (no more than a pint an hour) • Watch out for overheating in clubs: take people outside if it looks like they’re getting too hot • Don’t share needles if substances are being injected • If drinking, eat well beforehand, drink plenty of water, stick to one type of drink and pace the intake of alcohol

See the loose sheet ‘Drugs – the law’ for details on the legal status of drugs.

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
YOUNG OFFENDERS
Vulnerable young people may have multiple vulnerabilities. Young offenders, notably, will often be young people from any of the highlighted ‘at risk’ groups. Interestingly, young offenders (almost half) are far more likely than non-offenders (about a third) to believe that parental reaction is a deterrent to young people when it comes to likelihood of offending8. Offenders in mainstream education are more likely to be from single-parent households6. A significant link exists between offending and being excluded from school – 38% of those who commit serious offences are also excludees1.

SNAPSHOT
• The peak age for offending is 14 years6 • Boys are more likely to offend than girls6 • A quarter of young people in mainstream education and 60% of excluded young people have committed a criminal act6 • Among mainstream offenders, the most common age at the time of committing the first offence is 11-12 years compared to 10-11 years for those offenders excluded from school6 • The majority of offenders commit crimes with their friends – the most common crimes being arson, taking a car or bike, graffiti, buying drugs, handling stolen goods and shoplifting6 • Lone offenders are more likely to have assaulted a family member, used stolen credit cards, snatched from a person or stolen from home6 • Significantly higher levels of girls than boys who re-offend either graffiti or shoplift6

PREVALENCE OF DRUG USE
13% of serious* or frequent young offenders – those who have committed a serious offence and/or six offences of any kind in the past year – use drugs1. The most commonly used drug is cannabis followed by cocaine, ecstasy and amyl nitrate. Serious or frequent offenders also show the highest levels of drug use for speed, amyl nitrate, solvents, hallucinogens, crack cocaine and heroin of all the defined vulnerable groups. In recent reports6 50% of young offenders in custody said they used Class A drugs, making them one of the groups most vulnerable to substance misuse.

WHY DO YOUNG PEOPLE OFFEND?
Young people tend to cite a number of reasons for committing offences, the most common being: • For fun • Boredom • They perceive there is only a small chance of being caught • To impress or being influenced by their friends The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years. Children under 10 are immune from prosecution except in extreme circumstances.

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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
THE YOUTH JUSTICE SYSTEM
The youth justice system comprises Youth Offending Teams (YOTs), the police, youth courts and institutions where young people are held in custody such as Secure Training Centres (STCs), Local Authority Secure Children’s Homes (LASCHs) and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs). The principal aim of the youth justice system is to prevent offending by children and young people under the age of 18. YOTs are made up of representatives from the police, Probation Service, social services, health, education, drug and alcohol misuse services and housing. Every local authority in England and Wales has one and each has a manager responsible for co-ordinating the work of the youth justice services. Because the team incorporates representatives from a wide range of services,

it can respond to the needs of young offenders in a comprehensive way to identify suitable programmes that can help reduce the likelihood of the young person re-offending.

PREVENTION
If a young person has not offended by the age of 14, they are generally unlikely to do so9. Early intervention is vital in work aiming to prevent involvement in crime and/or drug misuse for all vulnerable young people. There are a number of early intervention and diversionary initiatives that exist such as Drug Interventions Programme (DIP), Positive Activities for Young People and Positive Futures. See www.drugs.gov.uk/frank for further information.
*Serious offences include vehicle theft, burglary, robbery, theft from a person, assault causing injury and dealing in Class A drugs.

INVOLVEMENT WITH PROFESSIONALS
Young offenders may come into contact with a number of professionals or agencies, depending on their level of offending, and it can be helpful to know who is likely to be involved at different stages. Young person’s situation • At risk of offending • Admits guilt for first or second minor offence or is behaving anti-socially • Charged by the police after further offences or more serious offence • Bailed or remanded in custody* • Appearance in Youth court (or Crown Court if a serious offence) • Facing sentencing • Has been sentenced Professional Involvement • YOT, LEA, Social Services, Police • Police, YOT, Local Authority • Police, YOT, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) • Police, YOT, CPS, Solicitor, Youth Court • YOT, solicitor, CPS, Youth or Crown Court • Youth or Crown Court • YOT or custody

*This can be conditional or unconditional bail, to local authority accommodation or secure remand to custody. Young people on secure remand are usually placed in Local Authority Secure Children’s Homes or Secure Training Centres.

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
TRUANTS AND EXCLUDEES
In England and Wales, education is compulsory for children aged 5-16. A parent or carer is legally required by law to ensure that their child receives full-time education either at school or by ‘education otherwise’ (the parent can choose to educate their child at home). Failure to do this is a criminal offence that can result in prosecution. Despite what many parents believe, responsibility for authorising absence lies with the school, NOT the parents or carers. Children who do not engage with school are among the most vulnerable of young people. A truant or excludee is more likely to experience teenage pregnancy, homelessness or come into contact with the Criminal Justice System. They are also more likely to be unemployed upon leaving school. A disproportionate number of truants and excludees are children from Black and ethnic minority (BEM) communities – especially African Caribbean boys – and those in the care system. • An estimated 82% of permanent exclusion are boys, 62% are aged 13,14,or 1512 • Bullying appears to be a significant factor in girls’ decisions to truant13 • Pupils with special educational needs are four times more likely to be excluded12 • The rate of permanent exclusion in England among Black Caribbean pupils has halved since 1997/98, to 37 for every 10,000 pupils of compulsory school age in 2002/03. However, this was still three times the rate for white pupils14 • Up to 40% of parents who have taken their children out of school for family holidays, do not believe this would have an impact on their education15

WHY DO YOUNG PEOPLE SKIP SCHOOL?
Truants and excludees are not a homogenous group with one clear set of reasons for disengaging with school – each child may experience a unique pattern of causal factors. However, from the occasional truant to the habitual non-attender to those who are excluded (temporarily or permanently), in the majority – but not all – cases, the decision to truant is taken by the child themselves. Young people tend to cite the following as the main reasons for skipping school: • The influence of friends and peers – as a status-seeking activity or as a way of joining in or blending in • Relationships with teachers • Boredom with school • Family factors – either parental attitudes or family problems (including being kept off school by parents) • Bullying • The classroom context – either because of teachers’ inability to control, or problems arising from the child’s own personality or learning abilities

SNAPSHOT
• Everyday over 50,000 pupils miss a day of school without permission, and an estimated 7.5 million school days are missed each year through truancy10 • Absence from schools overall was estimated at almost 7% in 2003-4, over 5% for primary schools and 8% for secondary schools11 • Since they began in December 2002, the national truancy sweeps have apprehended over 31,000 truants – almost half of whom were accompanied by an adult10 • There is a strong link between school attendance and attainment. Nearly half of children achieve 5 or more good GCSEs. Only 8% of persistent truants reach this standard10

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HIDDEN ISSUES
Research suggests that a significant number of young people turn up for registration but then skip individual lessons throughout the day. This means that, whilst official figures show that levels of truancy are staying roughly stable, the real extent of truancy may be underestimated. There is growing evidence of unofficial and informal exclusions and girls are thought to be more vulnerable to these types of exclusion. Girls may face a different set of (often hidden) circumstances which mean that their needs can be overlooked. These may include caring responsibilities at home or teenage pregnancy. Their needs may also be overshadowed by the difficulties of managing the much greater numbers of boys who truant or are excluded.

PREVALENCE OF DRUG USE
• Persistent truants and excludees share the highest levels of drug use with young offenders2 • Truants show the highest use for cannabis and ecstasy1 • Excluded young people show a tendency toward earlier use of volatile substances than those in mainstream education8 • 16% of truants have used a Class A drug in the past year1 A survey17 carried out with almost 5,000 young people aged 12-30 in England and Wales in 1998-1999, suggested that 50% of truants and excludees have used drugs. This compares to 15% of school attenders. In the same survey, 7% of excludees said they used a Class A drug at least monthly but only a fraction of truants and non-attenders reported doing so.

Professionals often categorise the key issues in truancy in terms of personal factors, family and community factors and school factors:

FAMILY/COMMUNITY FACTORS
Parentally-condoned absence Not valuing education Domestic problems Inadequate/inconsistent parenting Economic deprivation Community lack of self-esteem

SCHOOL FACTORS
School systems allowing pupils to slip away unnoticed Systems not in place to deter truancy Relationships with teachers and peers Relevance of school and the curriculum to these pupils

INDIVIDUAL FACTORS Lack of self-esteem Poor social skills Low confidence Poor peer relations Low academic ability Special needs Poor concentration/ self management skills

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
WHAT HAPPENS TO TRUANTS AND EXCLUDEES?
It is not just missing out on academic learning that causes problems for serial truants and excludees. Disengagement with education can also affect their social development and further lack of integration within society. This can lead to a vicious circle of social exclusion which impacts not only on these young people and their achievements but also on their skills as parents of future generations. Local Education Authorities aim to re-integrate children who are permanently excluded back into the school system. However, in 1998 an estimated two thirds12 ended up losing their entitlement to full-time education and received ‘education otherwise’, arranged by the LEAs either in special centres known as Pupil Referral Units, through home tuition (which may be as little as a few hours a week) or in a Further Education College. It is estimated that it costs about four times as much to provide this than mainstream schooling but that, on average, such pupils receive only 10 per cent of a full education18. The Government has now set out a requirement that, from 2002, all excluded pupils should receive full-time education. easier monitoring of their progress. It is argued that attendance projects for younger children who have not yet become disaffected are more likely to be effective. This is also more cost-effective than special provision to support the return to school of long-term truants.

INVOLVING PARENTS AND OTHERS
Closer work with parents through parenting classes or Parenting Contracts for parents whose children are truanting or have behaviour problems, can help them develop more effective skills to assist their child’s development, administer appropriate discipline and ensure attendance at school. The aim is to support parents but also to reinforce their legal responsibilities through a series of sanctions for those who fail to ensure an education for their child. These sanctions include Parenting Orders, Fixed Penalty Notices and fast track to prosecution. The use of Learning Mentors can help build positive relationships with children and parents and Peer Mentors can help provide a support network. Counselling and pastoral support programmes can also help.

IMPROVING BEHAVIOUR
Under the DfES Improving Behaviour and Attendance Strategy, truancy sweeps were introduced in 2002 to actively find the number of truants on the streets and schools are given guidance on managing absence and behaviour and attendance training. Schools now work closely with the Education Welfare Service to determine the course of action that should be taken in cases of serious nonattendance. Other agencies such as Social Services, Connexions, the Police or Youth Offending Teams are also often involved to encourage a holistic approach to the issue. For further information on tackling truancy, see the Improving Behaviour and Attendance Strategy website – www.dfes.gov.uk/ behaviourandattendance.

TACKLING THE PROBLEM
Current thinking aims to try to break this cycle of exclusion through a series of preventative measures and interventions involving parents to address the underlying causes of truancy and behavioural problems.

PREVENTING DISAFFECTION
Professionals are encouraged to tackle disaffection by using imaginative ways to engage young people with the curriculum and to spot emerging signs that a young person may be having difficulties. This approach gives additional support to those with special needs, to help them engage with learning and for

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LOOKED-AFTER CHILDREN
SNAPSHOT
Looked-after children are those who are legally ‘looked after’ by the local authority or Health and Social Services Departments. They may or may not be the subject of a Care Order. Typically, they may be in residential care, special schools or in foster care. Some may be in ‘kinship’ care where they are looked after by a member of their family. Some live away from their parents because of child protection issues, family problems, including bereavement or their own behavioural problems (including offending or substance misuse). A disproportionate number of children in public care are disabled. Black children and children of mixed ethnic origins are also over-represented whilst some other ethnic minority communities are underrepresented (eg Asian and Asian British). A number of important factors contribute to a young person’s experience of being ‘looked after’. These include the age they enter care, the reasons that brought them there and the number of placements that they experience and the support and services they receive. Looked-after children are disadvantaged in many ways. As well as issues arising from their backgrounds (including poor self-esteem and little experience of praise or encouragement), many will have ongoing family issues to face on top of the feelings associated with being away from their parent(s). Their education is disrupted as they often change schools when their placements change and their home environment may not be conducive to study. Statistically, children in care do significantly less well than others at school and are three times more likely to be unemployed on leaving school than other school leavers. Research has suggested that low expectations of these young people’s abilities by professionals and an underestimation of the difficulties they face can contribute to this19. • At 30 September 2004 there were 45,000 children who had been looked after continuously for at least twelve months by English local authorities20 • 35,300 of these children were of school age and of these 27% had statements of Special Educational Needs20 • 3 in 4 care leavers have basic skills needs21 • 54% of young people leave care with no qualifications compared to 5% of their peers22 • Three months after leaving school, nearly a quarter of children in care were not in education, training or employment of any kind23 • Children in care are 10 times more likely to be excluded from school12 • The largest category of need for lookedafter children is abuse or neglect (62%); 11% of children are in care due to dysfunction in the family24 • Amongst children in care, 45% of those aged 5 to 17 years have mental health disorders25 • Children from Black and ethnic minority groups are over-represented in the care system: accounting for nearly one in five of those in care, but just one in ten of the general population25 • Children in care are three times more likely to be cautioned or convicted than their peers21 • Children in care are more likely to experience emotional and behavioural problems including mood swings, depression, aggression, eating disorders and self-harm26

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 15

VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
PREVALENCE OF DRUG USE
• Looked-after young people tend to start using drugs at an earlier age, at higher levels and more regularly than their peers28 • The most commonly used drug is cannabis, followed by ecstasy then glue, gases and solvents26 • Cannabis use among young people in residential care is estimated at two to three times higher than among other young people26 • Looked-after children are four times more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs than those in private households27 • 80% of serial runaways have used drugs compared to 42% of young people who have never run away from home17 contact with. The Judge must agree the Care Plan before issuing a Care Order. A Care Order automatically ends when the child reaches 18. However, social services are obliged to continue to offer help, such as with finding accommodation, until the young person is 21. After a Care Order has been issued, the Children’s Guardian, solicitor and people who have prepared reports on the child (such as doctors) may no longer be regularly – if at all – involved with the child unless there is referral back to the Court. If the child is unhappy with the arrangements (including their relationship with their social worker) they need to go back to the Courts to have any changes considered.

FOSTER CARE
Foster care can be short-term – lasting for a few days, weeks or sometimes longer – while other arrangements are being made for the child’s care. Long-term foster care is for a longer period. Task-centred foster homes take children for a special reason, such as to help with transition to a permanent family or help with a specific problem the child may have.

IN ‘THE SYSTEM’
Looked-after young people may come into contact with a wide range of professionals and procedures. Many have a number of people making decisions for them from education and health professionals through to social workers, foster carers, the courts and other specialists.

DECIDING A CHILD’S FUTURE COURT PROCEEDINGS
In the lead-up to being taken into care, the child will have contact with social services, a solicitor, a Children’s Guardian (an independent social worker appointed by the Judge to represent the child’s interests during the court proceedings) and, often, health professionals. They may at this point already be with foster carers, in a residential home, living with a relative or still with their parents. This decision is taken by the social worker who should take the child’s views into account. A Care Plan is agreed by their social worker, parents and themselves with input from the Children’s Guardian. The Care Plan states where they will live, who with, what they need in order to be looked after properly, where they will go to school and who they will have Decisions concerning a child’s welfare and about their future are made by the courts or those with ‘Parental Responsibility’. Decisions include where a child will live, with whom, how long for, who they can contact, where they should go to school and whether they should be subject to a Care Order. They can also include decisions over their health care and whether the young person can marry (if 16 or 17), have a tattoo or piercing, own a mobile phone, take a part-time job while at school, stay overnight with friends or go abroad. If the young person wishes to stay overnight elsewhere, police checks may need to be done to ensure the place is safe. Someone else may also take the decision whether or not a teenage mother is allowed to live with the father of her child.

16 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

FEARS AND VULNERABILITIES
These measures are in place to protect the child and best practice encourages taking the child’s own views into account. However, young people in care often report feeling that they are not in control of their own lives and are not involved in making decisions that affect them. Some are extremely suspicious of and reactionary towards authority and ‘the system’ and recoil from being told what to do. They may be uncommunicative, feel misunderstood, exhibit a sense of frustration or feel different from their friends who they perceive to be automatically allowed to do things that they themselves feel they have to fight for the right to do. Such young people may have issues around control and their decision-making abilities. Young mothers or pregnant girls may have fears that their own baby will be taken away from them, although the reality is that decisions will be taken on the basis of whether or not the girl is considered capable of looking after her child. Girls, especially, may fall prey to adults (usually, but not always male), who seek young people for sexual purposes. They may have particularly skewed boundaries leaving them vulnerable to manipulation, especially through the grooming process (see page 21).

looked after by a local authority but not on a Care Order. In some cases, the child may not wish to see their parent(s) or wants to see them and is not allowed to for their own protection. The family may also not wish to have contact with the child and they cannot be forced to do so. Aside from issues of trust and rejection – including relationships with carers – the issue of contact can impact significantly on a lookedafter child’s relationships with others. They may have distorted boundaries and expectations and be vulnerable to relationships that negatively affect their self-esteem or welfare.

THE TRANSITION TO INDEPENDENCE
When young people leave care, in addition to the emotional and behavioural difficulties they may have experienced, they also face a number of practical challenges, including setting up home, getting a job, coping financially and managing their personal relationships on their own. They may also be concerned about continuing with education because of financial worries about how they are going to support themselves. The transition time from care to independent living is a vulnerable time for young people. Their disrupted, and often traumatic, experiences can cause some to feel that they are not important enough for people to want to make things succeed for them and that it is acceptable to break up relationships. This can create problems in sustaining relationships and engaging with the workplace. These young people are considered to be more vulnerable to having or developing problems with drugs. Whilst drug use tends to decline as care leavers begin to live independently, a fifth of these young people have said that they used drugs more often after leaving care due to increased access to a range of drugs, more money, peer influence or changes in their social lives or to combat loneliness. Chaotic transitions, involving

RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARENTS AND CARERS
Looked after children may have a number of issues with relationships and communication. Their relationships with their parents may be complex (including those arising from neglect or abuse) and there may be restrictions on contact through a Contact Order issued by the court. This states who the child can and cannot see or speak to and where and when contact can take place. It can include seeing or speaking on the phone and sending or receiving letters, emails or presents. The court has no power to make contact orders when the child is being

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 17

VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
periods of homelessness, staying in hostels or forming inappropriate relationships, are closely associated with heavy drug use. Drugs are just one of the issues they face so should be part of a holistic plan. Drug education focusing on help in resisting pressure to take drugs or moving on to ‘harder’ drugs is thought to be particularly useful, especially for those who live in hostels. However, in general, young people leaving care do appear to grow out of drug use more quickly than the general population29.

SUPPORTING LOOKED-AFTER CHILDREN
A Social Exclusion Unit Report30 highlighted several important action points to help improve the lives of young people in, and leaving, care. The report recommended: • Greater stability – so that children in care do not have to move home or school so often • Less time out of school, longer in education – help with school admissions, better access to education, more support to help them attend regularly and stay on after 16 • Help with schoolwork – more individual support tailored to the child backed by more training for teachers and social workers • More help from home to support schoolwork – by giving carers better training in children’s education • Improved health and well-being – with teachers, social care staff, health workers and carers all working together in the interests of the child The current policies and guidance laid out in the Social Care section of Every Child Matters: Change for Children were developed based on these principles.

At age 16, young people in the care system are appointed a Personal Advisor and develop a Pathways Plan. This covers things like accommodation, education (school or college), budgeting and financial support etc and must be completed within 3 months of the young person’s 16th birthday. It is added to, and part of, the young person’s Care Plan and covers the time up to their 21st birthday, including contingencies for if things go wrong. The relationship with the Personal Advisor is meant to continue throughout this period so that they have access to a consistent source of support.

For further information on the legal framework and measures in place to address the needs of looked-after children, see the Children Act 2004 and the DfES publication Every Child Matters: Change for Children in Social Care.

Those leaving care often benefit from both professional and informal sources of support. Help from professionals with developing and pursuing career options is particularly welcomed and emotional encouragement, often from family and substitute family members, has been proven to help young people to stay engaged with what they are doing.

18 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

SUPPORTING A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Specific best practice support to help improve the educational attainment of looked-after children recommends the following: • Create a supportive care environment – where learning is valued and young people have space and peace and quiet to study and access to resources such as stationery, books, computers • Enhance motivation and self-esteem • Recognise achievements of looked-after young people. • Support leisure time activities such as looking after animals, sport, volunteering and part-time work • Address disaffection with school or ease practical difficulties eg supporting teenage mothers • Take ambitions seriously and plan for higher education • Improve communication between professionals (eg education and social services) • Arrange events and award ceremonies • Provide transport to and from schools and leisure activities • Provide educational support eg revision clubs, extra tuition pre exam, help with reading and homework • Consult young people on their experiences and what motivates them

CHILDREN SEXUALLY EXPLOITED THROUGH PROSTITUTION
Abuse through prostitution can take different forms. It may involve children and young people being given money, drugs or accommodation in return for sex with one or more men. Or, it may involve them being exploited in a more ‘formal’ state of prostitution.

SNAPSHOT
• It is estimated that in the UK up to 5,000 young people may be involved in prostitution31 • Girls are more likely than boys to be abused in this way, with a female to male ratio of 4:131 • Police statistics show that two thirds of child exploitation goes on behind closed doors • Children who are sexually exploited are often criminalised. 210 children aged 17 and under were convicted of offences relating to prostitution in 1996 compared to 101 children in 1995. The number of cautions also rose slightly from 263 to 28731 • In 1988, 35 people were cautioned or charged with child pornography offences. By 2001 that number had risen to 549, a 1,500 % increase25 • 78% of vulnerable sex workers have been in the looked-after system32 • Three quarters have experienced homelessness or insecure housing32

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
Difficult life experiences – such as violence or abuse at home, homelessness, exclusion from school, being in the looked-after system or being limited by poverty and debt – can all make a child more at risk of being sexually exploited. Some may be drawn into prostitution through their substance misuse. Others may turn to substance misuse, either through being introduced to drugs as part of the exploitation or to help them cope with their situation. Young people commonly cite the following as background to becoming involved in prostitution: • • • • • • Family problems/arguments Physical or sexual abuse at home Running away from home or care Becoming homeless Needing a place to stay Needing money for living expenses or drugs for themselves or someone else (especially those who are under-age and unable to support themselves) Being unable to get a mainstream job because of drug use Being co-erced by a boyfriend Being introduced to drugs by a parent Being introduced to prostitution through friends Being lured into a ‘relationship’ via the internet

THE BOYFRIEND
Girls in particular may get involved in an exploitative relationship with a boyfriend. The young man, meets a girl (usually 12-14) and impresses her with his maturity and by the way he treats her. They begin a sexual relationship and she falls in love, subsequently becoming dependent and then controlled by him. He then manipulates her into prostitution. This may take the form of ‘sharing’ her with friends or through forcing her to work as a prostitute. The girls often say that they agree because they love their boyfriend and would “do anything for him”.

TRAPPED
Many become trapped in the situation for fear of being beaten (or worse) or feel so ashamed of their situation that they find it difficult to make contact with family or friends outside their immediate circle. They often don’t want to have to explain what they do for fear of being judged. Their peers become others who are in the same marginalised situation.

• • • • •

THE CONSEQUENCES
Being exploited in this way can have complex and far-reaching repercussions. Aside from the damage to confidence and self-esteem, they may fear for their safety through living with the threat of violence or punishment for not complying with the exploiter’s wishes. The child or young person can also be at risk of sexually transmitted disease, especially through unsafe practices. In addition, they can be at risk of violence or rape from punters or the people who control them, due to being forced into dangerous situations, tempted by the promise of more money, or through being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Young people may also become involved through being trafficked from other countries on the false promise of a job and new life in Britain. Some may have been abused through posing for pornographic photographs which may appear on the web. Whilst there is no single pre-cursor, an abuse of power and preying on a child or young person’s vulnerability is involved in all cases. Whilst many young people may view their situation as their fault, it should always be remembered that they cannot and do not consent to their own sexual abuse. They are victims, and need to be viewed as children in need.

20 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

Girls may end up pregnant, experience terminations or, if they go through with the pregnancy, have their child taken into care. Both boys and girls may end up isolated from old friends and family and indulge in self-destructive behaviour such as self-mutilation, overdosing, eating disorders and problems with drugs.

GROOMING ON THE INTERNET
Some adults use the internet as a means to strike up a sexual relationship with a young person. The adult ‘hangs around’ in an Internet Chatroom and begins an online conversation with a young person who seems vulnerable. They then invite the child to a private area of the chatroom to get to know them better, posing either as a potential boyfriend or confidant and, over time, elicit personal information from them. Next they may start chatting privately via instant messaging or mobile phone, eventually culminating in a face-to-face meeting. The adult makes the young person feel special and creates conditions that prepare the child to be sexually molested. There may be increased sexual content in conversations followed by increased sexual touching. For advice on staying safe in chatrooms, see www.thinkuknow.co.uk

Young women under 16 can be charged with soliciting even though a man is committing an offence by having sex with them. However, the police tend to view women under 16 as victims of crime. They will often try to return them to their home or carers rather than charge them and may get social services involved in looking at why they were ’working’ in the first place. Boyfriends or male friends and family can be charged with living off the earnings of prostitution.

BREAKING THE CYCLE
It can be difficult to tell whether a young person is being sexually exploited. Some are able to tell someone, some may give subtle clues that need to be interpreted, but many keep it to themselves. Building a trusting relationship and keeping an open mind to anything that is told is crucial. Children who have appeared in abusive images have specific therapeutic needs. They may be ashamed and find it difficult to face the world, not knowing who has seen the images. Young people who have been abused have complex needs and work with them needs a holistic approach to provide practical help (such as finding accommodation and getting access to health care and education) as well as addressing issues of abuse, homelessness, drug use, sexual health and general well being. One-to-one support, crisis intervention and access to a ‘safe’ place where they can do domestic activities are considered important.

For further information on children involved in prostitution, see ‘Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution’ Published by the Department of Health (2000).

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
YOUNG HOMELESS
Under the Housing Act 1996, someone is statutorily homeless if they don’t have accommodation that is legally and physically available to them and which it would be reasonable for them to continue to occupy. This includes rough sleeping, living in insecure accommodation such as squats, B&Bs, night shelters or sleeping on a friend’s floor.

NO PLACE TO GO
Young homeless are predominantly male, with a ratio of 2:138. BEM groups are underrepresented among rough sleepers but overrepresented among other categories of homelessness. Refugees and asylum seekers tend to be the most isolated. Many young homeless have run away from home due to problems within the family including dysfunction, family conflict, violence or abuse. They may have experienced neglect or rejection or have been kicked out of the family home. It is not uncommon for young people to say that they would prefer to be homeless than continue being abused. Young people are more likely to run away when they have no-one to talk to, they don’t know what else to do, they don’t know where to go for help or the help they need is not available. A large number may be homeless through running away from care or find themselves without accommodation after leaving care or a young offender’s institution. Some are homeless through their drug use. Others develop problems with drugs. For all, the fact of being homeless will have a huge impact, not least on their confidence, self-esteem and physical and emotional health.

SNAPSHOT
• It is estimated that a fifth of 16-24 year olds will experience homelessness at some point in their lives33 • 1 in 8 of homeless young people (up to 6,700) may have recent experience of rough sleeping. That's equivalent to about 5 comprehensive secondary schools34 • Of those young people who have slept rough, 80% have tried drugs, compared with 53% of those who haven’t slept rough35 • Up to 52,000 young people were found homeless by local authorities in England in 2003. This is about 1 in 60 of all 15-19 year-olds in England, or the total number of all 15-19 year olds living in a major city such as Leeds34 • An estimated 100,000 children run away from home each year in Britain. One in nine 14 and 15 year olds will run away from home each year36 • From the age of 14, girls are twice as likely to run away as boys37 • By the age of 16, one in nine children will have run away for at least one night36 • 7% of runaways are physically or sexually assaulted while away from home37 • An estimated 18,000 children a year are thrown out by their parents36

22 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

HOMELESSNESS AND DRUGS
Becoming homeless can increase a young person’s exposure to a range of vulnerabilities. In addition to the exacerbation of the personal and psychological problems that they may already face, they may also become vulnerable to health problems and be at risk of assault or other physical dangers. They may have higher exposure to (or an acceleration of) drug use due to its prevalence among homeless people generally and may resort to begging, sex work and street crime – all of which are also closely linked to drug use. There is also considerable overlap between drug problems and alcohol and mental health problems.

BARRIERS TO ACCESSING HOUSING
• Single homeless people with drug problems do not have to be accepted by local authorities as vulnerable and thus eligible for re-housing • Drug users may not be able to get housing or may lose their housing through being screened out and thus unable to access social housing • Eligibility criteria of housing providers offering supported housing to vulnerable groups often excludes those with drug or severe alcohol problems • Rent arrears or not knowing how to make a housing application may cause a problem for drug users trying to access social housing • Drugs users, particularly young people, are perceived as being, unlikely to be consistent with rent or other payments, likely to cause disputes with other tenants, or to be involved in other crime, including dealing or ‘sex work’ • Drug users who lose their accommodation as a result of a very poor tenancy record and rent arrears are unlikely to be rehoused until debts have been cleared • Drug users are less likely to find suitable accommodation and, if they have lost tenancies, find it difficult to be re-housed

PREVALENCE OF DRUG USE
In a recent study39 83% of homeless people interviewed had used a substance other than alcohol in the last month. Two thirds cited drug or alcohol use as a reason for becoming homeless and four out of five said that they had started using at least one new drug since they became homeless.

ADDRESSING THE ISSUE
Homeless young people can find themselves unable to break out of their situation. They often lack the basic skills and support networks to be able to turn their lives around and so remain on the margins of society. Lack of money and basic provision (many are not even registered with a GP or dentist) can help perpetuate this. Whilst homelessness itself is not a crime, homeless young people may become involved in anti-social behaviour such as aggressive begging, stealing, drug dealing and prostitution to support themselves. For those under 16, legal employment is rarely an option and benefits inapplicable. Those over 16 also face barriers to breaking the cycle of ‘no home-no job’, especially if they misuse substances.

Homelessness is not simply a housing issue. Addressing the needs of young people who find themselves without a place to live requires consideration of the circumstances that contributed to their homelessness, understanding of the issues they face and support to help them access housing and services and to manage their lives. This requires integrated working between agencies.

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VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
Good practice includes: • Education to prevent homelessness eg in schools • Proactive outreach to rough sleepers to encourage them into temporary accommodation • Practical support • Personal and social development • Day centres • Specialist hostels with drug services provision • Supported tenancies and tenancy breakdown prevention schemes

CHILDREN OF PROBLEMATIC DRUG USERS
Problem drug use by parents can cause serious harm to children and young people of any age. It is often the use of multiple drugs, often by injection and can be typically chaotic and unpredictable. Some parents are able to provide basic care for their children and attempt to protect them from the impact of their drug use. For many, however, problematic drug use can have a strongly negative impact on parenting skills and therefore seriously affect the child’s development. These young people are at a greater risk of being excluded from school, offending and becoming young parents.

SNAPSHOT
• There are an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 children in England and Wales where one or both parents have serious problems with drugs40 • This represents 2-3% of all young people under 1640 • Almost two thirds of fathers and a third of mothers don’t live with their children40 • Most children not living with their drugusing parents live with other relatives40 • 5% are looked-after in the care system40 • A recent review of 290 cases of childcare concerns in London found that 34% involved parental drug or alcohol misuse40 • A significant number of older children whose parents use drugs, regularly use cannabis but don’t regard it as a drug41

For further information on homelessness and young people, contact Centrepoint on 020 7426 5300 or at www.centrepoint.org.uk

HEALTH AND SOCIAL IMPACTS
There can be a number of health implications for a child even before birth due to poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy. In some cases, the young person can also be exposed to the risk of contracting blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis C and HIV, both before birth

24 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

and in infancy. They may also be exposed to a range of substances and the hazards associated with having drugs and drug paraphernalia in the home from an early age. Lack of adequate general health care can mean some have incomplete immunisation and poor nutrition. The child may suffer a range of physical and emotional problems from the effects of poverty, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, inadequate supervision, intermittent or permanent separation from their parent(s), inadequate accommodation, frequent changes in residence and interrupted education. Their parents’ lives may also bring them into contact with criminal activity. Not all children of problematic drug users will have behavioural difficulties, however behavioural problems can be typical. The uncertainty and chaos of their family life can cause emotional worries which, in turn, can affect the child’s concentration. Some may then be in a cycle of poor school attendance (whether of their own accord or through having to stay at home to care for their parent(s)) and low attainment. Bullying can be a real concern. Some may also face exclusion from school. Others become homeless, either through being forced out of home or through not being able to watch any more.

PREVALENCE OF DRUG USE
Young people who have been brought up around problematic drug use seem to fall into two camps when it comes to their own views of drugs. Some regard drug use as a normal part of life and can be more likely to drink, smoke or misuse drugs themselves42. Others are antidrugs due to what they have seen happen to their parent(s). Interestingly, however, the majority of young people in this latter situation, still do not think of cannabis as a drug.

COMPLEX NEEDS
Children whose parents have problems with drugs often have complex needs. Many have not only seen the effects of their parents’ drug use but have also witnessed the drug use itself. Many take on a carer role for their parents and younger siblings. They are often acutely aware of the stigma attached to having parents with drug problems and may hide their parent’s drug use from friends and family, and can be too ashamed to bring their own friends home. Young people often feel that they are responsible for their parents’ drug use and feel angry and frustrated about it. They may direct this anger outwardly, or internalise it and be at risk of self-harming. All of this can lead to the young person being extremely isolated. Issues of trust and expectations of confidentiality are crucial. They may be particularly afraid of saying anything for fear of getting their parents into trouble or can be worried that their parents may come to harm, die or be imprisoned. Some may have parents who fund their drug use through prostitution and crime. What appears to be common to the vast majority, is the hurt and embarrassment that they feel about their parent’s behaviour. Many fear that they will be taken away from their parents – indeed, a large proportion end up being intermittently (or permanently) looked after by relatives or in the care system.

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 25

VITAL STATISTICS: VULNERABILITY
LIMITING THE DAMAGE
Addressing such a range of physical, emotional and practical needs can be complex. The key areas of concern however are: • Reducing harm to children • Effective treatment and education for parents • Child Protection Training (for professionals) • Supporting relatives The overriding requirement is for sensitivity regarding what the young person may be going through – without making assumptions (see page 28 on how to talk to vulnerable young people). Interventions that help a young person to cope with their situation are considered to be more effective. Research has shown that young people gain enormous benefit from having friends (especially ones they can confide in), time away from the home and taking part in ‘normal’ fun activities. This can involve support for their education including practical help to encourage them to attend school, and leisure/youth activities. Respite and emotional support are also important as is support for parents, both in accessing appropriate treatment and in developing their parenting skills.

YOUNG REFUGEES
A number of factors have been identified that point to increased risks of drug use. These include barriers to education, family breakdown, mental health problems, homelessness, involvement in crime, poverty and deprivation and unemployment.

CHILD PROTECTION
If you consider a young person to be in danger because of a parent’s neglect or abuse, contact the NSPCC on 0800 800 5000 or contact Social Services. For further work with young people whose parents have problems with drugs, see ‘Journeys – when parents take drugs’ available from Adfam (see Useful Resources on page 40-44).

Young refugees and asylum seekers are often exposed to a large number of these factors43 including a lack of educational and working opportunities. Such lack of opportunity can increase boredom and exacerbate mental health problems. The loneliness, lack of social support networks and the stress of waiting to hear whether their application has been granted can add to this isolation. Many may also have fled from, or experienced, extreme situations in their home country – such as persecution, torture or the death of loved ones – and have faced a long and hazardous journey. They may be separated from their families and have to deal with the effects of negative publicity about asylum seekers in the media. Many have inadequate housing, often overcrowded and, in the case of young people, often in hostels also used by problematic drug and alcohol users. Some end up homeless.

26 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

People from newly arrived communities may also not be suitably competent in English and will most often be unaware of services available to them in the event that they do develop problems with drugs. Many will also be reluctant to ask for help because of cultural taboos around drugs. As such, these young people are considered to be a vulnerable group. Whilst the presence of a single or even multiple risk factors in a young person’s life does not automatically predict problematic drug use, it is generally agreed that the greater the number of risk factors present, the greater the likelihood of drug use and subsequent problematic use.

Whilst there is a lack of research on levels of crime among this group, their exposure to other factors (such as a need for belonging, economic necessity and naivety in terms of becoming involved in illegal activity) means that they may be susceptible to involvement in crime. Offending at a young age raises the risks of misusing drugs. For some, vulnerability to coercion into prostitution (which has strong links with drug use) may be a key risk. Some refugees have used drugs prior to their arrival in the UK. Being given drugs to control behaviour when fighting in a conflict in their home country is not uncommon. Those who have been imprisoned or tortured, may have been given drugs to add to their suffering whilst others may have begun self-medicating, particularly for a mental health problem. Recreational drug use also occurs, including the use of substances such as khat or paan within some communities.

SNAPSHOT
• Cannabis use among refugees and asylum seekers is more common than use of heroin and crack cocaine43 • Estimates of the number of unaccompanied minors living in the UK at any one time range from 3,500 - 10,00043 • The majority of unaccompanied minors are boys, aged between 16 and 1743 • People from BEM communities are less likely to access services than their white counterparts

IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY
Refugees are not one homogenous group. They can be from a wide range of nationalities, each with their own cultural heritage and sensibilities and with a wide range of physical, emotional and social needs. Work with young people in this situation needs to be culturally appropriate whilst aiming to alleviate problems associated with the barriers they face. Practical support and activities that promote inclusion are key.

AT RISK OF DRUG MISUSE
Young refugees and asylum seekers who have a strong desire to develop their education and build a new life for themselves appear to be less vulnerable to drug use. Many are also reluctant to do anything that could jeopardise their application. However, those who face barriers to education are more at risk. Likewise, the incidence of mental health problems among this group, such as depression, can add to the risks of future problems with drugs, particularly for unaccompanied minors.

For information and ideas on working with people from diverse communities, see the FRANK Action Update ‘Talking Diversity’.

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VITAL STATISTICS: TALKING DRUGS
THE LOWDOWN
As seen from these profiles, vulnerable young people are not a discrete group – their opinions and experiences vary enormously, and communication needs to take account of this. Research also reveals common differences between their lifestyles and those of their peers. Most importantly, there are differences in attitudes towards drug misuse and drug education.
The vast majority of vulnerable young people live in socially disadvantaged areas where drug use is widespread. They are from families that have multiple problems that might include a combination of: Poverty Parental splits or changes of partner Domestic violence Sexual/physical abuse within the family Parental abuse of alcohol and/or Class A drugs Sickness, mental health problems or bereavement • Imprisonment of parent(s) and/or sibling(s) • Very poor parenting skills. These factors can often make them difficult to reach when it comes to communicating drug information. • • • • • •

IN THEIR OWN WORDS41
Hard statistics highlight the extent to which drugs play a part in the lives of vulnerable young people. But it is the stories that young people tell in research interviews that give valuable information how their problems affect how they relate to drugs and drug education.

“USING DRUGS IS NORMAL”
To many vulnerable young people, drug use is a part of everyday life. They know that deals are being struck in their neighbourhoods and, if they’re not taking drugs themselves, they might know someone who is. Their parent(s) and siblings may have tolerant attitudes towards drugs, and some have parents who are problematic drug users – so they are often well aware of how drug use can affect people on a day-to-day basis. Most do not think of cannabis as a drug to be avoided, because so many of the people around them smoke it. The only drugs they think should be avoided are heroin and cocaine. But some still draw a distinction between ‘smackheads’ and those people who seem able to control their use of the drug.

"Cannabis ain't a drug. It’s natural. It’s better than tobacco."
Looked after young person

28 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

When it comes to using drugs, two groups have much less experience: young refugees and children of problem drug users. Young refugees are often focused on education and building a new life, and consider drugs might endanger their prospects. For children of problematic drug users, their parents’ lives are a powerful reminder of the damage drug misuse can do.

BARRIERS TO LEARNING
Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds often have low literacy levels, and this can mean that communications about drugs are less accessible to them. Many have been excluded from school, or have truanted so, even if they are literate, they may have missed out on formal drug education. For those who have actually started taking drugs, low literacy and exclusion from school can put support services beyond their reach. As vulnerable young people are a diverse group with wide-ranging needs, what works for other young people might have adverse effects with this audience. Drug education classes at school can leave some feeling uncomfortable. This particularly the case for children of problematic drug users, who fear that the lessons might draw attention to their problems and make them a target for bullying.

BEEN THERE, SEEN THAT
A young person’s knowledge of drugs often precedes formal drugs education in school. Some report having learned about drugs on the streets when they were as young as seven. And it is on the streets where they think they can get real information about the positive and negative effects of drugs, so they are often scathing about what they see to be their school’s anti-drug message. Some claim to be more knowledgeable than those teaching them about drugs.

STARTING EARLY
Early exposure to drugs can increase the likelihood of vulnerable young people experimenting with them earlier than their peers. It is common for them to have experimented with a wider range of substances by their teens.

"They were on about drugs and I didn't want to look at anyone in case they were looking at me thinking 'He already knows about drugs because his mum and dad are druggies'."
Son of problematic drug users

A HIGHER RISK
Difficulties at home often push young people onto the streets. Even those who do not run away from home spend large amounts of time away from their families. Unfortunately, in trying to escape their difficulties, they can add to them as they try to combat boredom or fit in with people they meet on the streets. Many increase their exposure to drugs or put themselves in a situation where drug use is more likely.

"I was brought up around drugs. It was just one of the things you did. Don’t know when I started… Maybe 7 or 8?"
Young offender

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 29

VITAL STATISTICS: TALKING DRUGS
THE LOWDOWN
A SOLUTION, NOT A PROBLEM
For some young people, difficulties can seem insurmountable, and drugs become a solution rather than a problem. In cases where somebody has been receptive to drug education, the need for something to counter negative emotions can make drugs irresistible.

"It's fine to say 'Don't do drugs' but some people have so much crap in their lives that they use the drugs to escape."
Young homeless person

FRANK
Although vulnerable young people are able to appreciate the message of FRANK, sometimes the fact that their living conditions aren’t being acknowledged can allow them to keep the campaign’s message at arm’s length – “It’s not talking to me.” Vulnerable young people can also find it difficult to talk to an anonymous person at the end of a phoneline, and it can be difficult for them to believe that FRANK is confidential. Private access to the internet may also be a problem for young people. Therefore, it is important to use the FRANK message in an appropriate way that takes into account their lifestyles and experiences.

"My mum used drugs before I was even born so I grew up not knowing any different. I'm now 10 and have been coming to STARS for nearly a year. Before I came to STARS I had no one to talk to about stuff to do with drugs at my house. Even though my mum doesn't take drugs any more, I was still worried that when she was stressed she’d start taking drugs again. I search in the bin to see if she has used anything to take drugs like cans with holes in for smoking crack. Since coming to STARS I have been able to talk about my worries; I had no-none to talk to before. I couldn't even tell my friends I didn't want anyone to know my business. I feel that I am happy to get on with my life and know that I don't have to search the bin anymore. I think STARS can teach and help children to understand drugs and alcohol. I have drawn a picture about all of the things that I have done at STARS and how I feel about drugs."
John, aged 10, STARS project casestudy

30 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

ENGAGING WITH VULNERABLE YOUNG PEOPLE
Young people often tend to perceive risks in a different way to adults. They may see risks as challenging, exciting and sometimes just something to experiment with to ‘see what happens’. By contrast, as we get older, most adults increasingly tend to view risks in more negative terms. Given that adults and young people can come from these different perspectives (and that young people often feel they have been fed ‘misinformation’), young people can often mistrust information they receive (or perceive to be) from adults. For vulnerable young people, who may have experienced difficult situations with their parents, people in authority or with other people generally, feelings of mistrust may be even more highlighted. In addition, due to their relationship experiences, their boundaries may be distorted. This makes it extremely important that professionals make their communication approach credible, sensitive and appropriate so that chances of engaging with young people (and particularly the more vulnerable) are maximised. Here are some tips to help you engage them with your communications and activities.
INVOLVE AND CONSULT
Work with your existing young people to learn more about the particular places in your communities where young people congregate. Involving young people in the development and implementation of your activities can help you make sure you’re on the ball regarding current fads, trends and issues in your area as well as adding credibility.

HOLISTIC APPROACH
Many young people, especially those whose lifestyles render them more vulnerable, may have wider issues that they are dealing with apart from those that surround drug use. Taking a holistic approach encompasses practical considerations such as accessing benefits or housing, financial management and general welfare. Communicating about drugs in complete isolation of these concerns can limit the effectiveness of your work.

GROUND RULES
Be aware of your organisation’s rules and regulations and establish to what extent you can be flexible – at least to begin with – about things such as punctuality and curriculum. There may be a myriad of issues facing vulnerable young people – once you’ve got them engaged, you can start to reason with them about their behaviour and establish appropriate ground rules that are acceptable both to you and them.

SURPRISE
Most young people, vulnerable or otherwise, will have all sorts of predetermined ideas about what to expect from a youth centered organisation. However, they often have more innate curiosity than we sometimes imagine. Organise some really unusual events or non drug-related activities to capture their interest.

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 31

VITAL STATISTICS: TALKING DRUGS
THE LOWDOWN
GO TO THEM
Young people who reject traditional education or ‘slip through’ the net of social services can effectively be ‘invisible. Sometimes the only way to engage vulnerable young people is to get out there and find them. Arm your outreach workers with youth passports – this scheme is working well in French cities at the moment. Young people are given a passport which gives them discounted access to various youth services in the city (youth clubs, ice-rinks, cinemas etc) provided they turn up regularly to your organisation and get it stamped. This requires strong relationships with your local youth services and facilities.

KEEP IT REAL
Make sure that your activities are appropriate to the age, stage of development, gender, race and culture of the young people. In particular, make them relevant to the young people’s circumstances. Consider how their experiences may have informed their views and the way they relate to others. Be sensitive and, especially avoid making assumptions or stereotyping.

LISTEN
It’s easy to look like you’re listening, but are you really picking up on the important information a young person might be trying to tell you?

• Always hold private conversations somewhere genuinely private • If necessary, make a ‘do not disturb’ sign for your door • Spend ten minutes after any private conversation writing some notes detailing the key issues faced by the young person • Don’t try to ‘speak the same language’ but ask young people to explain slang terms. If you don’t know that (currently!) ‘soldiers’ and ‘dogs’ means ‘friends’ you might miss something crucial to their situation

Exaggerating dangers, limiting discussion or telling young people what to think are not advisable. It can discourage development of decision making, increase the likelihood that young people will switch off, as they feel patronised or suspect they are not being told the whole truth. Effective communications encourages young people to explore a range of views, to develop their own opinions and challenge stereotypes.

Consider who is the best person in your team to perform outreach duties. For example, you may need to recruit someone from a particular ethnic community, age or gender to help gain credibility with the young people you are targeting.

Be clear about boundaries and issues such as confidentiality and disclosure. It is important that young people know exactly where they stand with you.

32 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

MOVERS AND SHAKERS
In this section, we profile some of the excellent national and local initiatives aimed at engaging vulnerable young people.

STARS (SUPPORT, THERAPEUTIC, ADVOCACY AND OUTREACH SERVICES), NOTTINGHAM
STARS was set up in 2002 to address the needs of local children and young people whose parents misuse drugs and alcohol. Accepting referrals from all sources, STARS works with children and young people on a group and individual level, assessing their priorities and addressing the myriad issues thrown up by substance misuse within families, including poverty, domestic violence, prostitution, and problems relating to parenting, school and self-esteem. The aim of the project is to provide a safe haven, offering respite and refuge from the burden of living with a substance-misusing parent or family member. Reaching out to more than 100 young people a year, STARS endeavours to help children deal with their fears and get on with their lives, equipping them with a greater understanding of alcohol and drug abuse and helping them cope better with problems at home. Local children are transported from school to the STARS project where they are offered a wide range of activities, including therapeutic artwork and storytelling to enable them to articulate their experiences and express their feelings. Home visits are also conducted, many of which take in foster care situations. STARS also works with children whose parents no longer abuse alcohol or drugs, but who are still living with the legacy of past problems and dependencies. For further information contact: Sara Mayer Tel: 0115 942 2974 Email: stars-project@childrenssociety.org.uk

WALPOP (WALSALL PERSISTENT OFFENDERS PROJECT)
WALPOP is a persistent adult offenders project that actively targets the younger brothers and sisters of drug-using offenders. Working with repeat offenders and their families, many of whom have been involved in drug-related crime in Walsall, WALPOP supervises offenders in prison and visits their families in the home. Recruiting seconded police and probation officers, the project refers offenders into local treatment services while keeping an eye on their family situation, looking out particularly for younger siblings who may not yet be involved in drugs or crime but who are still very much at risk. With the help of the local Youth Offending Team and other youth agencies, WALPOP then provides support and interventions for these younger siblings aimed at reducing future drug misuse and criminal behaviour. Providing specialist in-house treatment advice and supervision, WALPOP endeavours to build lasting relationships with families throughout Walsall, where 80% of crime is drug-related. Recruiting siblings and parents into the process of rehabilitation and crime-reduction, WALPOP’s overall aim is to prevent impressionable and potentially vulnerable young people repeating the mistakes of their elders, thereby achieving lasting change among the younger generation. For further information contact: Lyn Reed Tel: 07736 007 643 Email: reedl@walsall.gov.uk

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 33

MOVERS AND SHAKERS
SOUTHEND DAT AND SOUTHEND YOUTH OFFENDING TEAM (YOT)
Since July 2003, Southend DAT and Southend YOT have been involved in a joint football initiative for 10 -18 year-olds with drug and alcoholrelated problems. Together, the two agencies organise and sponsor a football team for local young people who are referred to the YOT by the Youth Justice Board Mentoring scheme. The team, called ‘The Amigos’, provides muchneeded direction and discipline for young men who are either repeat offenders, on licence from custody or looked after within the care system. Offering a sense of belonging, stability and self-esteem,‘The Amigos’ also opens up routes to other mentoring services and sportsbased activities. Most importantly, however, the project gives vulnerable young people an immediate incentive to stay off drugs and out of trouble, replacing the chemical highs of drug and alcohol misuse with the natural highs of teamwork, exercise and achievement. With individual performances being so obviously marred by drug and alcohol abuse, the young players are compelled to kick their habits in order to meet the rigours of regular competitive games. And the team members have risen to the challenge: in their first season ‘The Amigos’ won the local Division One championship, and are currently building on this initial success.

STREETS AND LANES

Streets and Lanes (SALs) is a Bradford-based project that works with young women up to the age of 18 who are being sexually exploited, or who are particularly vulnerable to this type of exploitation. Employing a multi-agency approach, SALs offers age-appropriate services on an individual, group and drop-in basis, also providing outreach services to schools and other venues. SALs seeks to assist vulnerable young women with their practical needs, helping them access food, clothing and healthcare, while also offering career advice, counselling and substance abuse support. The young women who access SALs’ services may be homeless, involved in abusive relationships or leading a life about which their parents or carers know little or that they feel powerless to stop. Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, the SALs team operates a strict confidentiality policy, with information only being shared with the consent and on behalf of the young women concerned (only in exceptional circumstances will confidentiality be breached). More often than not, the young women are referred to the project by the police or by other local professionals, although many can, and do, refer themselves. For further information contact: Tel: 01274 548379 Email: streetandlanes@barnardos.org.uk

"Michael has been in care since he was 10 and is on licence from custody. He wanted to go back into custody over Christmas. He has spent the last four Christmases there. We persuaded him to join the football team as a goalkeeper one Saturday. This gave him such a sense of self-worth that he complied with his order and stayed out of custody."
For further information contact: Peter Walsh, Substance Misuse Worker Tel: 01702 608 704 Email: peterwalsh@southend.gov.uk

34 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

MISSING IN YORKSHIRE
Missing in Yorkshire provides a vital service to young people reported missing in the Kirklees and Bradford Metropolitan Districts. Working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, the Kirklees Primary Care Trusts and Kirklees and Bradford Social Services Departments, the project’s aim is to help vulnerable children and young people keep themselves safe from harm. Offering short-term family work, crisis intervention, advocacy or listening/support services, Missing in Yorkshire looks out for young people aged 16 and under who go missing from home or the looked-after system. Recognising that these young people are in fact children in need, vulnerable to offending, substance misuse, exploitation and/or abuse through prostitution, Missing in Yorkshire tries to intervene and offer access to sensitive, confidential services at the earliest possible stage. When a young person goes missing and is reported to the police, the police fax the Missing in Yorkshire service, who in turn contact the parent or carer of the young person in question. The service arranges to visit the residential unit where the young person lives – usually about a week after they have returned. Between four and six sessions are set up with the young person in a place where they feel comfortable – at home, in school, or in a café. The sessions focus on risks, keeping safe and exploring the causes of going missing. Receiving a sensitive response to their return, young people are helped to understand their own vulnerability, and are empowered to make alternative choices for a safer and more settled lifestyle. For further information contact: Tel: 01484 223385 Email: missinginyorkshire@barnardos.org.uk

CHANCE UK
Chance UK is a registered charity that organises mentoring programmes for five to eleven-yearolds with behavioural difficulties who are at risk of becoming criminal offenders and/or problematic drug users later in life. Also offering support to the parents of the children it works with, Chance UK delivers individually tailored programmes through carefully screened and trained volunteer mentors – all of whom are closely supervised in their work. The charity aims to intervene early in the lives of vulnerable children and to help them and their families lay the foundations for a brighter future. The children Chance UK work with are typically difficult to manage and unable to concentrate on their schoolwork. They often have problems making friends and getting on with adults, having to contend with other difficulties such as inadequate parental supervision, neglect, poverty, and school exclusion. Chance UK tries to channel children’s disruptive energy into projects that encourage a sense of personal achievement, self-confidence and selfesteem. Each child is carefully matched with an adult mentor who helps the child bring about positive changes in his or her life. They meet once a week for a year. Children and parents report that the mentoring scheme brings about positive long-term change in behaviour and emotional development, resulting in improved concentration, social skills and educational attainment, as well as heightened sense of personal responsibility. Following the success of their early intervention programme, Chance UK has been recognised as a Home Office ‘Gold Star’ project. For further information contact: Joanne Hobbs Tel: 020 7281 5858 Email: Joanne.hobbs@chanceuk.com

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 35

IDEAS FOR ACTION
It is often not until young people fall-off our ‘radar’ that we register them as being vulnerable or hard-to-reach. This means that a well-targeted and imaginative approach is extremely important in developing initiatives that will be accessible, approachable and attractive to those young people who may not generally engage with mainstream communication. We hope that the ideas in this section will help kickstart your own thinking about targeting vulnerable audiences in your area and tailoring your awareness work accordingly. A set of loose sheet activities is also included in this Update for you to use either on a one-to-one or group basis with young people.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Vulnerable young people who use drugs7 tend to start doing so at an earlier age than other young people. They may also start sexual activity around the same time, raising issues about pregnancy and parenthood for them. Girls can be in the minority in many of the vulnerable groupings but their problems are often more complex and more serious than their male counterparts. In addition, young people from Black and ethnic minority (BEM) communities may also have specific needs. Therefore, any activities you develop should be sensitive to different gender experiences and take account of cultural diversity.

LATE NIGHT SHOPPING
The areas directly outside corner shops which stay open late into the night, 24hr garages and off-licences are often ‘muster points’ for young people. They provide shelter and light, scrounging opportunities for cigarettes and alcohol – as well as a rich source of entertainment. Recent research by Crime Concern highlighted the informal collaboration often forged between under-aged drinkers and shopkeepers; “ you sell us booze and we’ll make sure the younger kids don’t steal from you or wind-up your staff”. Try to find ways to get your FRANK materials on to the counters of these shops.

REACHING THE HARD TO REACH
To engage young people effectively, you may find that getting a group of young people involved in both the development and implementation of a project can help maximise your chances of success. See ‘FRANK Recruits’ in the Ideas for Action section of the FRANK Action Update ‘Youth Trends and Tribes’ for tips on consulting with young people.

36 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

COOLING OFF
During the summer months, young people in rural environments often seek out areas on the banks of rivers and lakes (not to mention beaches) to congregate. Hanging swings from trees and jumping off bridges are among the boredom-relieving tactics they might employ. Think of activities that involve water during the summer and organise a FRANK-sponsored: • • • • Raft building competition Canoeing trip Water balloon fight Surf-school trip

FRANK NAIL & HAIR BAR
One for the girls! Gather up a good stock of hair and nail products and braiding/plaiting kit. Charge reasonable amounts for people to have nail art, weaves and even henna tattoos. Remember that young people take a lot of notice of their peers, particularly in the style stakes. Make sure you recruit young people as your ‘staff’ to engage your clients in conversation and tell them all about other FRANK activities.

FRANK KARAOKE AND DANCE STAGE
Karaoke machines are easy to hire and often come with a friendly operator. There’s no reason not to set them up outside. Remember to take some plastic sheeting in case of problems with the weather. Get permission from event organisers – as you will draw a crowd and be making noise, they might want you to set-up somewhere specific. Give prizes to the best performers, or create a panel of judges and film your own version of FRANK Idol.

Whenever you organise an event, particularly one that involves water or outdoor activity, make sure that you take the necessary health and safety precautions. Visit the Health and Safety Executive’s website at www.hse.gov.uk for advice.

MARKET STALLS
Ethnic communities often have a vibrant market culture, usually taking place at weekends. Find out where your local markets, car boot sales and country fayres are held and think of imaginative ways to run a FRANK stall. This is a good way to disperse information to different generations and different ethnic minority groups. Try not to simply set-up a stall giving out leaflets: work with a group of young people to come up with a product or game. Or try to make as much money as you can as part of a fundraising initiative – the proceeds of which can be put towards a facility or social inclusion activity for young people in the area.

FRANKSELECTA!
Vulnerable young people often have difficulties finding their way through the dilemmas that they face, and find decision making tricky. Use the FRANKSelecta! tool in this Update to facilitate discussions on how they feel about different drug scenarios. The tool has a potential 1,000 permutations of different dilemmas to choose from and its random nature means some could end up being quite bizarre – making your ‘moral dilemma’ discussion more fun and less heavy-going.

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 37

IDEAS FOR ACTION
FRANKTASTIC BEACH PARTY (WITH OR WITHOUT A BEACH!)
You don’t need a beach to have a beach party, you just need a swimming pool or a space that you can decorate to give it a beach party theme. You could enlist the help of young people to paint scenery and make props. Add a band or a disco and with a dance area and chill-out zone you have the makings of a fabulous event. Get aspiring young DJs to bring their decks along or a steel band can be a very effective music source which conjures up that tropical feeling and adds to the pool party atmosphere. You could also set up health education stalls or hold mini sports tournaments, reinforcing the message of natural highs and healthy living.

OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO REMEMBER
• Local businesses will often donate prizes for a raffle or competition, so allow plenty of time to approach them • A programme can be a good way of raising funds. Sell advertising space and sell the programme in advance of the event to act as an entrance ticket • Keep some helpers in reserve on the day. A stall holder might not be able to attend so your reserve team will need to leap into the action so that the stall can still run • A change float is essential

FRANK OSCARS
Suggest that your group of young people organise their own Award Ceremony. This often works well either at the end of a term or period of work and is a good excuse for a party! Get the group to suggest different qualities in each other e.g.‘best sense of humour’,‘best listener’, best dancer’. Make sure everyone’s talent is recognised. Making an acceptance speech takes a lot of bottle, but can be a real confidence booster and help with issues of selfesteem. Other things you could consider: • The award, a certificate or perhaps they could make each other a trophy • A red carpet • A photographer • Nicely designed invites for parents, carers, friends and support workers • Normal dress (young people love an opportunity to dress up but be sensitive to situations where money would be an issue) • Some entertainment – perhaps a performance • A local celebrity • Food and drink • FRANK flyers and information See the loose sheet ‘Esteeming Ahead’ for more ideas on self-esteem activities.

38 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

MENTORING
The mentoring of vulnerable young people, particularly those who have offended or are likely to offend is a fairly recent development that has followed a trend set in the USA. It is now a fast-growing phenomenon within the voluntary sector of the UK. In instances where parents are either unavailable or unable to provide responsible guidance for their children, mentors can play a critical role. The lack of appropriate adult role models is thought to be one of the factors influencing those who end up in the youth justice system. Mentors can fulfil this role, demonstrating an example of positive, acceptable behaviour. If your organisation has (or is thinking of developing) a mentoring programme, try to ensure that mentors are aware of the issues around drugs that young people may be facing and the support and advice they can get from FRANK. FRANK will be developing support for mentors as part of the campaign’s focus for 2005-6. In the meantime, if you'd like to find out more about mentoring, here are some links to organisations who may be able to provide support and help. TIMEBANK Campaign to recruit volunteers to help young people in danger of turning to crime. 0845 601 4008 (24 hour line) www.timebank.org.uk/whatif/ SOVA The leading national volunteer mentoring organisation working in the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales. 0114 270 3702 www.sova.org.uk/ MENTORING AND BEFRIENDING FOUNDATION Aims to promote the development of mentoring, offer advice and support to those wishing to set up or develop mentoring programmes. 0161 787 8600 www.mandbf.org.uk

FRANK has lots of activities that you can use or adapt with young people. Download other FRANK Action Updates or Activity Sheets from www.drugs.gov.uk/frank or use the More FRANK order form in this pack.

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 39

USEFUL RESOURCES
FRANK MATERIALS
FRANK has a wide range of materials on a variety of specific subject areas as well as posters, postcards and ambient media items. For details log on to www.drugs.gov.uk/frank to download or order resources and literature or use the More FRANK order form in this pack. You may find the following of particular relevance to your work with vulnerable young people:

FRANK LITERATURE
Easy Read Drug Pack Information on drugs, the law, basic first aid, and drugs and sex for people with learning difficulties or low literacy levels. Drugs – the facts Drug information for 11-14’s and vulnerable young people. Includes information on volatile substances, alcohol and tobacco. The Score Aimed at 15-18’s and vulnerable young people. Includes advice on harm minimisation. Talk about cannabis Personal testimonies from young people. Parents’ guide to drugs and alcohol Encouraging conversations between parents/carers and their children about drugs

FRANK ACTION UPDATES

We Are Family Information and advice on family issues and activities for working with parents and their children.

NEW LITERATURE – COMING SOON
More resources are in the pipeline which will reinforce the new direction of FRANK. An additional leaflet on harm minimisation and treatment and young people’s services will be available, covering: recreational drug use, poly drug use, how to recognise the signs, what to do in an emergency, available treatments and how to access them. Details of publication dates will be advised through the campaign updates and featured on www.drugs.gov.uk/frank

Cannabis The law, fact sheets and tips for giving up.

Youth Trends and Tribes An insight into youth culture and how to communicate with young people.

40 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS
Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England Available from the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. Download from www.strategy.gov.uk/work_areas/alcohol_ misuse/index.asp or tel 020 7276 1881 to order hard copies. All in a day’s work: a guide to good practice in day centres working with homeless people. Campaign for the Homeless and Rootless, Homeless Link 1997 Better Education, better futures. Research, practice and the views of young people in public care Barnardo’s 2001 Drug prevention with vulnerable young people: A review Home Office Drugs Analysis and Research Unit 2005 Every Child Matters: Change for Children A series of publications within the Every Child Matters Strategy from DfES (published 2004) including: • Change for Children • Change for Children: young people and drugs • Change for Children in Health Services • Change for Children in Schools • Change for Children in Social Care • Change for Children in the Criminal Justice System Download or order from www.everychildmatters.gov.uk Hidden Harm – responding to the needs of children of problematic drug users Home Office & Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs 2003 Homelessness and Drugs: access to drug treatment Drugscope 2001 Homelessness and drugs: managing incidents. Good Practice Guide Drugscope 2000 Home and Dry? Homelessness and Substance Use Crisis 2002 Journeys - When Parents Take Drugs Adfam, 2004 Let’s Get Real: Communicating with the public about drugs Home Office 2001 Making Partnerships Work – A study of partnership-working in The Prince’s Trust and a practical guide to building and maintaining effective partnerships The Prince’s Trust 2005 Mentoring and Young People – A literature review The SCRE Centre 2003 MORI Youth Survey A survey of young people, both in and out of school, that explores the prevalence of offending among young people, gauges any links between truancy and offending, investigates alcohol and drug taking behaviour, assesses young people's ethics and fears and measures the proportion who have been victims of crime. Download from the youth justice board site www.youth-justice-board.gov.uk Room for Improvement, A manifesto for Children Save the Children, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, NCH, NSPCC (2004) Safeguarding Children involved in Prostitution GUIDANCE REVIEW Department of Health 2001

FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference 41

USEFUL RESOURCES
Substance use by young offenders: the impact of the normalisation of drug use in the early years of the 21st century Home Office Research 2003 Throughcare and aftercare: approaches and promising practice in service delivery for clients released from prison or leaving residential rehabilitation Home Office online report 2005

ORGANISATIONS
ADFAM Information and advice for families affected by drugs and alcohol including an online database of local support groups. Also offers publications, literature and videos. 020 7928 8898 www.adfam.org.uk BARNARDO’S UK charity supporting vulnerable children and their families. 020 8550 8822 www.barnardos.org.uk BASE (BARNARDO’S AGAINST SEXUAL EXPLOITATION) Works with young people who are at risk of sexual exploitation or who are being sexually exploited. 0117 934 9726 services.barnardos.org.uk/basebristol CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S UNIT (CYPU) London-based organisation, part of the Mayor’s office, dealing with issues relating to children, childcare and play. www.london.gov.uk/young-london/cypu.jsp CHILDREN ARE UNBEATABLE! Alliance campaigning on children’s legal protection against being hit. Promotes positive, non-violent discipline. 020 7713 0569 www.childrenareunbeatable.org.uk DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND SKILLS Education and skills information and policy for children, young people and adults. Established with the purpose of creating opportunity, releasing potential and achieving excellence for all. 0870 000 2288 www.dfes.gov.uk (young people’s portal) www.dfes.gov.uk/youngpeople/)

The Mental Health Needs of Homeless Young People – Bright Futures: Working with Vulnerable Young People The Mental Health Foundation 2002 Understanding problem drug use among young people accessing drug services: a multivariate approach using statistical modelling techniques Home Office online report 2004 Updated Drug Strategy Outlines the Government’s strategy for addressing drug-related issues including education, treatment and controlling supply. Download from www.drugs.gov.uk/frank What works? Series of reports from Barnardo’s including: What Works for Troubled Children? (1999) What Works in Child Protection? (2000) What works in child sexual exploitation: sharing and learning (Barnardo’s and Stade Advies 2004) What works in education pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties outside mainstream classrooms? (2001)

42 FRANK Action Update – Vunerable Young People – making the difference

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH Provides health and social care policy, guidance and publications. 0207 210 4850 Publications order line 08701 555 455 www.dh.gov.uk DRUGSCOPE UK centre of expertise on drugs. 020 7928 1211 www.drugscope.org.uk NACRO Works with ex-offenders, disadvantaged people and deprived communities. 020 7582 6500 www.nacro.org.uk NATIONAL CHILDREN’S BUREAU Undertakes research, evaluation and development projects to influence policy for children and young people. 020 7843 6000 www.ncb.org.uk NCH Helps children at risk or in care, vulnerable young people and families under pressure. 08457 626 579 www.nch.org.uk NSPCC UK charity specialising in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to children. 020 7825 250 www.nspcc.org.uk www.there4me.com (confidential online advice for teenagers) RAINER Provider of (and gateway to) a range of tailored services for under-supported young people. 01959 578 200 www.nspcc.org.uk

RELEASE Provides a range of services to meet the health, welfare and legal needs of drug users and those who live and work with them. 0845 4500 215 www.release.org.uk THE CHILDREN’S SOCIETY Works with and for children to help them deal with life challenges. 020 7841 4400 www.the-childrens-society.org.uk TURNING POINT Works with individuals and communities on drug and alcohol misuse, mental health and learning disability issues. 020 7702 2300 www.turning-point.co.uk

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USEFUL RESOURCES
REFERENCES
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Drug Use among vulnerable groups of young people: findings from the Crime and Justice Survey 2003 Every Child Matters – young people and drugs 2005 FRANK Caller Satisfaction Survey 2005 Drug Harm Index Health Advisory Report into young people’s drug use 1996 MORI Youth Survey 2004 – MORI 2004 for the Youth Justice Board Youth Justice Board Annual Review 2003 Vulnerable Young People and Drugs – Opportunities to tackle inequalities (Drugscope) Home Office Research Study 261, Substance use by young offenders: the impact of the normalisation of drug use in the early years of the 21st century, February 2003 DfES LEA Absence data Spring 2005 DfES Social Exclusion Unit Joseph Rowntree Foundation ONS Social Trends 2005 MORI for DfES and ABTA 2002 Provision and Support for Traveller Children: Ofsted 2003 Home Office Research Study 228, At the margins: drug use by vulnerable young people in the 1998/99 Youth Lifestyles Survey, Home Office, November 2001 Exclusion from School, the Public Cost: Parsons 1996 Better Education Better Futures. Research, practice and the views of young people in care; Sonia Jackson and Darshan Sachdev, Barnardos 2001 Statistics of Education: Outcome Indicators for Looked after Children DfES September 2004 Prince’s Trust 2002 Careleavers 2002-3 England: DfES Barnardos 2004 ONS 2003 Room for Improvement: a manifesto for children NSPCC, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, NCH and Save the Children 2005 The Health Needs of young people leaving care; Broad and Saunders, Voice for the Child in Care 2004 Meltzer et al 200, Williams et al 2001 Big Step Partnership 2002 One problem among many: drug use among care leavers in transition to independent living. Home Office Research Study 190 2002 A Better Education for Children in Care: Social Exclusion Unit 2003 Home Office, Paying the Price, Government Consultation on Prostitution, 2004 Home Office Findings: Vulnerability and involvement in drug use and sex work 2000 Barnardos Centrepoint, Young People Homeless Index, 2003 Home Office Research Study 228, At the margins: drug use by vulnerable young people in the 1998/99 Youth Lifestyles Survey, Home Office, November 2001 Children’s Society 1999 NCH 2001 The Mental Health Needs of Homeless Young People, Mental Health Foundation 2002 CRISIS: Fountain and Howes 2002 40 Hidden Harm: Responding to the needs of children of problem drug users, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs 41 FRANK research with Vulnerable Young People: Front Line Research February 2005 42 Barnardos 43 Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Greater London: vulnerability to problematic drug use: University of Central Lancashire 2004.

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And don’t forget talktofrank.com for information and advice on drugs.

PHOTOGRAPHY
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Roy Peters / reportdigital.co.uk – page 1, 4, 35, 36 Paul Carter / reportdigital.co.uk – page 3 (top), 30 Paul Box / reportdigital.co.uk – page 3, 5, 23, 29, 37, 39 (top) Calvin Hewitt / reportdigital.co.uk – page 7 Duncan Phillips / reportdigital.co.uk – page 9, 13, 21, 25, 39 John Harris / reportdigital.co.uk – page 10 Joanne O’Brien / reportdigital.co.uk – page 11, 21 (top) Paul Herrmann / reportdigital.co.uk – page 18, 34 Gerry McCann / reportdigital.co.uk – page 22, 24 Jess Hurd / reportdigital.co.uk – page 26, 27 Philip Wolmuth / reportdigital.co.uk – page 41, 43

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www.JohnBirdsall.co.uk – page 15, 17, 31

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