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Chapter 2 sets out the argument for Transitional Safeguarding. Putting it bluntly, the current safeguarding system does not work for many young people and represents poor use of public resources. Binary adults’ and children’s safeguarding legislation, policy, and practice frameworks create gaps for young people to fall into; this binary fuels other binaries such as the categorisation of young people as either vulnerable or culpable. Transitional Safeguarding seeks to redress these binaries and span such boundaries. The chapter outlines the six key principles that underpin Transitional Safeguarding: being evidence-informed; ecological; contextual; developmental and transitional; relational; and equalities-oriented. These address the current challenges in safeguarding young adults, exemplifying the ‘both/and’ ethos of putting Transitional Safeguarding into practice, leadership, and policy development.

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The conclusion draws together the key discussion points outlined in the book, including the core elements of system transformation in this area. We identify important components at micro and macro levels. At a micro level, the experiences of young people are key – unless they are placed at the centre of this work, then their needs will not be fully understood or addressed. At a macro level, various systems and structures govern and influence this work and we have explored some of these for children and adult safeguarding that contribute to (but are not solely responsible for) gaps in safeguarding practices with young people. We end with an outline of core components for leading change moving forward.

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Chapter 4 provides an overview and commentary about ‘emerging adulthood’ as a developmental stage. There are key theoretical frameworks and concepts that offer useful insights into understanding young people’s development, and therefore can influence how we articulate and further develop Transitional Safeguarding. However, these frameworks have some limitations and there are important critiques to be aware of, for example, the theory of ‘emerging adulthood’ is situated in a particular economic, social, and historical context which is not universal and may not stand the test of time. It is more helpful to move beyond age-stage developmental theories and instead engage with the complexity and heterogeneity of young people’s lives and identities. Life Course Theory seeks to do this in part, although there may also be limitations about the applicability of this theory outside of westernised environments. The need for theoretical frameworks to reflect diverse contexts chimes with Transitional Safeguarding’s attention to the principle of equality, equity, diversity and inclusion, the impact of trauma on development links with the relational principle, and the developmental imperative for young people to be afforded choice and voice, which is central to the participative principle.

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This book powerfully sets out the case for Transitional Safeguarding, a new approach to protection and safeguarding designed to address the needs and circumstances of young people from mid-teens to mid-twenties who are falling between the gaps in current institutional and professional systems, often with devastating results. Addressing these gaps in the current system, it outlines how the specific needs of young people can be met through this approach. Written by leading experts in this area with strong practice networks, it presents up-to-date evidence for its effectiveness, using examples from practice to illustrate the ways in which services are beginning to develop a more transitional approach.

The book begins with the voices of young people: it is imperative that they are placed at the centre of this work. They enable professionals to understand what is wrong with existing systems, structures, and services as well as what is positive and valuable. Practitioners working with young people need knowledge and skills, and legal literacy. The book explores some of the differences and similarities in existing legal and policy drivers in children and adult safeguarding that contribute to (but are not solely responsible for) gaps in safeguarding practices with young people. Professionals working at all levels in local services can be creative within policy and practice frameworks to work around blocks and barriers created by the wholly separate systems for those aged under and over 18. Transitional Safeguarding requires system changes involving leadership at all levels to advocate for, drive, and deliver change that makes a difference to young people’s lives.

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Chapter 9 contains a cross section of examples to provide a picture of what is emerging locally to put the principles of Transitional Safeguarding into action. We hope that they prompt and inspire others to consider how their local area or service might be able to do things differently, to ensure that young people can be and feel as safe as possible. No one area has the complete solution, and all are on a journey with this work. The way in which change happens is a process, not a single transformative event and this chapter explores four typologies, which help situate and understand each of the examples within the system transformation that needs to be achieved.

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The introduction sets out what is covered in the book. It begins by defining the term ‘Transitional Safeguarding’ and explains the origins of it. This is an emergent concept and as such the book marks a moment in time where we (the three authors) take stock of the work we have done over the past six years and look to possible futures. We want the contents of the book to inspire, start discussions, and bring about changes to the way we support young people to be and feel safe.

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This book powerfully sets out the case for Transitional Safeguarding, a new approach to protection and safeguarding designed to address the needs and circumstances of young people from mid-teens to mid-twenties who are falling between the gaps in current institutional and professional systems, often with devastating results. Addressing these gaps in the current system, it outlines how the specific needs of young people can be met through this approach. Written by leading experts in this area with strong practice networks, it presents up-to-date evidence for its effectiveness, using examples from practice to illustrate the ways in which services are beginning to develop a more transitional approach.

The book begins with the voices of young people: it is imperative that they are placed at the centre of this work. They enable professionals to understand what is wrong with existing systems, structures, and services as well as what is positive and valuable. Practitioners working with young people need knowledge and skills, and legal literacy. The book explores some of the differences and similarities in existing legal and policy drivers in children and adult safeguarding that contribute to (but are not solely responsible for) gaps in safeguarding practices with young people. Professionals working at all levels in local services can be creative within policy and practice frameworks to work around blocks and barriers created by the wholly separate systems for those aged under and over 18. Transitional Safeguarding requires system changes involving leadership at all levels to advocate for, drive, and deliver change that makes a difference to young people’s lives.

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Chapter 8 reports on research that Christine completed that investigated a number of SARs and CSPRs of deaths of care-experienced young people. This provides significant learning through the evidence of where practice and systems need to change. We have used a whole systems model as a framework for analysis and then linked the findings to Transitional Safeguarding principles. Themes identified in this research included: poor planning for transitions and poor multi-agency/inter-professional communication; poor assessments and poor relational practice; lack of recognition of the risks and vulnerabilities that young people faced and their contexts; weak legal literacy; lack of engagement with and participation by young people, as well as evidence of their ‘voices’, views and wishes; and evidence of discriminatory practices, for example ‘adultification’. These reviews describe the multiple challenges for all practitioners and agencies in addressing practice and strategic issues to better prevent the tragedy of these deaths continuing.

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Chapter 6 explores learning from adult safeguarding provision, which is very different to children’s safeguarding. Adult safeguarding enquiry processes apply where adults have care and support needs and are unable to protect themselves because of those needs. For some young people, who have had safeguarding support as children, this can mean that there is a ‘cliff edge’ when they become 18 because they are not considered to have care and support needs, or because these are not deemed to prevent them being able to protect themselves. Despite the enabling preventative powers of the Care Act 2014 and underpinning ‘well-being’ principle, lack of legal literacy, pressures on services, and limited resources and capacity can all serve to limit the support offer to young people. MSP is the key approach that underpins adult safeguarding practice. It prioritises the involvement of the person in identifying their outcomes and focuses on what they want to achieve to be safe. MSP provides a way of working with young adults that can adapt to their personal developmental needs, ensures their active participation, and provides an inclusive safeguarding response. It is aligned to the principles of Transitional Safeguarding and can be ‘drawn down’ to use as an approach to safeguard young people aged 16-plus who are able to evaluate the risks that they face in their lives.

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Chapter 5 explores the learning from innovation within children’s safeguarding. Children’s safeguarding policy and practice has, until very recently, been focused on intra-familial harm and has often been driven by responses to many crises. There are tensions between children’s rights and developmental needs and the paternalism often observed within child protection. Most of these approaches to safeguarding children, such as Contextual Safeguarding, Complex Safeguarding, Family Safeguarding, and restorative practice, provide useful learning for Transitional Safeguarding. With policy attention increasingly directed towards improving responses to child exploitation and extra-familial harm, there is a potential risk of privileging specialist and bespoke services over preventative whole system support. This presents the unintended consequence of separating safeguarding these young people from the safeguarding of the wider population. These issues are explored in this chapter.

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