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New specialist youth service to help prevent child exploitation

26 March 2021

Young people in Norfolk who are at risk of exploitation are to benefit from a new Targeted Youth Support service.

Run by Norfolk County Council, the £1m service is aimed at supporting those who are risk of harm outside of the family home – through criminal or sexual exploitation.

It will build on the work already being carried out by the council’s detached youth work service in Norwich, as well as support provided across police, social care, the Youth Offending service and voluntary sector services.

Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “This service will mean we can extend the youth support available to young people who might be at risk of grooming and exploitation.

“Norfolk remains a very safe county but we know that there are those who will target and exploit young people for criminal activity. Our youth workers will be able to help identify those at risk, build trusted relationships and support them to stay safe.

“We’ll have a combination of youth support workers engaging with young people on the streets, as well as teams able to provide direct support.”

Detached youth workers will support young people across the county, in the places and spaces where young people choose to meet up.

Social workers and family support practitioners working with young people will also be able to call on support from youth workers where they believe young people are at risk of harm outside the home.

TYSS will also include practitioners who can undertake return home interviews for young people who have gone missing. A return home interview is an opportunity for a young person to explore reasons for going missing, understand any risk or harm experienced and reduce the likelihood of further missing episodes.

The new TYSS will work closely with other voluntary and commissioned services that work with young people across Norfolk.

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