CSCB Vulnerable Adolescent Review – Introductory Statement from CSCB Independent Chair
Croydon Safeguarding Children Board – Vulnerable Adolescents Review
Statement from the CSCB Independent Chair – Di Smith
The Vulnerable Adolescents Review was commissioned in Summer 2017 following the tragic deaths of three young people in less than a month. The aim of the review was to understand the factors that led to such devastating consequences and to identify important lessons that will help services in Croydon keep children and young people safe and reduce the risk of future harm.
The CSCB made the decision to widen the scope of the review to get a broader understanding about the lives of vulnerable young people in Croydon. In addition to the three young people who died, the review also included 57 vulnerable young people who were identified as being of concern, including those particularly at risk from violence and exploitation.
This is the largest piece of work undertaken by the Board to date and it demonstrates the determination of partners to improve and deepen their understanding of the lives and experiences of vulnerable young people, the community in which they live and the services they have received. The review brings together information from their families, social care, schools, health, police, youth offending, community organisations and, where possible, the young people themselves. The review considers the support they received and the effectiveness of multi-agency working.
The findings highlight a high proportion had experienced paternal absence (72%), exposure to domestic abuse (42%), homelessness (28%) and maternal absence (27%). All 60 were known to social care – more than half of them by the age of five – and 70% had been referred to child and adolescent mental health services.
The review particularly emphasises the pivotal importance of education in young people’s lives. It also highlights the impact of exclusion. Of the 19 young people in the cohort who received a fixed term exclusion in primary school, all went on to receive a criminal conviction.
Young people’s safety is a particular concern at the moment and as a result there has been widespread interest in the Vulnerable Adolescents Review. In Croydon, the learning will be invaluable as we go forward, as a strong and cohesive partnership, to take a preventative approach to youth crime, strengthening families and to helping our young people make positive choices. We hope this review will also be of some value to other areas facing similar issues both here in London and beyond.
It remains for me to thank all those across the partnership for their great commitment in gathering evidence for the review; to express a deep gratitude to the young people and families who have shared their experiences; and finally, to thank Charlie Spencer, Bridget Griffin and Maureen Floyd for the passion, drive and sensitivity they have brought to this ground-breaking piece of work.
Independent Chair of Croydon Safeguarding Children Board