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St Christopher’s presents at children’s services innovation conference

St Christopher’s presented at the Spring Consortium National Learning Conference to share how we developed our specialist home for young women at risk of exploitation with support from the Department for Education social care innovation fund.

Best practice for child sexual exploitation

Back in 2014 the Innovation Programme awarded St Christopher’s with funding to pilot a specialist service for girls at risk of child sexual exploitation and other community threats. From this our Safe Steps children’s home was born, and in the last two years the home has worked with 15 young people.

Two St Christopher’s colleagues ran a presentation at the conference on how we developed best practice for working with this group of young women. They talked about the strengths-based approach in the home and how social pedagogy underpins all the work that takes place. Sir Alan Wood, Chair of the Residential Care Leadership Board, tweeted it was “a really excellent session on CSE and St Christopher’s project gave a thoughtful and powerful presentation on their innovative work”.

Innovation Programme projects

But the day wasn’t just about sharing our experience – it was an opportunity learn about the other projects too. As a creative and learning organisation, events like this provide many opportunities for us to see how we can develop and adapt ​our services in line with current best practice.

One session by the London Borough of Southwark and the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum focused on “Participation: Why, How and When to Involve Young People”. St Christopher’s attendees said it was good to see a local authority seeking help from young people to turn around their services and it clearly boosted the self-esteem of those young people, motivating them to have higher personal and professional aspirations.

Another stand out presentatio was by Doncaster Children’s Trust, who were joined by two young people who had been through the care system and now work for the Trust as Young People Advisors. Their CEO described them as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the organisation, showing how valuable young people’s involvement can be for all different workplaces.

St Christopher’s will soon be sharing learning from a new Staying Close pilot, which received funding from the second round of the Innovation Programme. Find out more about our services and approach to care using the button below.

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