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Chapter 10 draws on theoretical frameworks from systems leadership and systems thinking literature to argue that Transitional Safeguarding should be conceptualised as a whole system change, not a discrete intervention. System transformation of this kind is not simple, of course. However, the key principles provide a path through the complexity to take small steps in the right direction – and local areas are showing that change is possible. Each key principle is then considered to explore what this might mean for anyone seeking to develop the concept and apply the approach of Transitional Safeguarding locally or nationally.

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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 behaviours of young people aged 15-24 who are falling between gaps in current systems, with often devastating results.

Addressing the 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, and also uses examples from practice to illustrate the ways in which services are beginning to address these issues.

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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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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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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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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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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 3 provides an overview of the legal and social policy frameworks that govern safeguarding practices for children and adults in England. The legal frameworks, statutory guidance, policies, and conceptual frameworks for children’s and adults safeguarding have developed differently and often in response to crises (for example, child deaths and investigations about institutional abuses). There are also differences between England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. There are, however, similarities and synergies between children and adults safeguarding in terms of key principles of safeguarding practice; the ‘gap’ is in the paradigms for safeguarding practice rather than the legal frameworks. Risks and rights are understood differently for children and adults, protection and participation are afforded different weight. This provides a challenge for taking forward a Transitional Safeguarding approach but is not an insurmountable barrier for a more fluid and responsive system.

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