A young man, who for confidentiality will be known as DW, is now living a happier, healthier life thanks to the Targeted Support delivered by the charitable youth development organisation.

The challenge

DW was initially referred to Positive Futures by his Social Worker during which time he was classed as being a Child in Need. This was partly due to having lived through years of abuse, trauma and adverse childhood experiences whilst in the care of his mum. At point of referral, DW wasn’t attending school because the SEN Team could not find a suitable place for him due to his extremely aggressive behaviour, such was the extent of his emotional and behavioural issues.

The intervention

Initially, DW would not make eye contact or talk in sentences with his Targeted Support Worker, so the youth charity utilised youth work skills to engage and build rapport with him. His initial baseline assessment found him to be above the clinical threshold for conduct disorder, emotional problems, depression and attachment disorder.

Alongside targeted one to one work, the Positive Futures team also engaged with his dad and supported him to access support from the SEN Team and Social Services. This intervention led to a timely Child in Need meeting taking place where DW’s needs were discussed.

Back at Positive Futures and DW was responding well to his Targeted Support Worker, who worked with him on a one-to-one basis to empower him to explore his feelings, emotions and behaviours in a safe and non-judgemental way. After the initial five sessions, DW started to talk about his feelings and thoughts. The duo used bouldering as an activity to facilitate these conversations. This activity acted as a way to positively channel energies, but also has since become a hobby of DWs, something which he did not have before.

He was also offered a place at a school but concerns remained as to how well he would adapt and integrate into this new setting. His Targeted Support Worker visited the school with DW, to meet his teachers and familiarise him with the new setting. As a result of this visit, his Positive Futures Youth Worker was able to talk to him about his worries and concerns about attending the school while they were walking around, enabling them to address barriers and concerns there and then, ultimately giving DW the best chance of success. He started at that school the following week and he has maintained his placement there since.

“He made so much progress towards his goal of controlling his emotions, so they didn’t control his behaviour.”

DW’s hard work and significant progress was put to the ultimate test when he joined a group of young people for a three-day residential with Positive Futures. He participated very well on this trip and even asked to come along on the next one. Upon returning home, his dad reported that he saw DW smile again.

The impact

“He saw DW smile again.”

Less than six months later and DW’s targeted intervention has now ceased after he successfully achieve his goals. He is now looking forward to joining a local Liverpool secondary school in September.