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Support service for young people with complex and challenging needs is making a difference

A report to the next Lifelong Learning Committee on Wednesday 26 August 2020 will highlight the positive impact of a new service designed to provide intensive support to keep young people at home with their families when they are at risk of coming into care.

The REACH team was set up in 2018 as a one-stop multi-disciplinary response to address the specific needs of young people aged between 12 and 18 years old who are 'on the edge of care'.

REACH brings together social workers, a clinical psychologist, speech and language therapist and a dedicated teacher. The team operates 24-7 , and aims to support young people to remain safe within their families, schools and communities, and to become healthy, resilient and achieving young adults.

Committee members will consider the third annual progress update for REACH, where they will hear about the first year of the project being fully operational, following a major financial investment made by the Council over a five-year period from 2017. The report notes that REACH is on target to meet expectations for being financially sustainable into the future by reducing the need for young people to go into foster or residential care.

In the past year, REACH has worked successfully with 59 young people who have complex and challenging needs and has delivered a range of positive outcomes from stronger family relationships, improved social skills and engagement, better school attendance, achievement of qualifications and awards and generally healthier lifestyles.

Lifelong Learning Convener, Councillor Caroline Shiers said: "This report clearly shows the valuable work that continues to be undertaken by the team at REACH, with much to be achieved over the next two years. We have an extremely committed staff team in place, who offer an approach to engaging with young people on the edge of care which was not previously possible locally. Now, young people across the whole of Perth and Kinross have a range of options for support that can help them remain within their own families and communities and focus on a more positive future."