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Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS) Children's Champion (Rhondda Cynon Taf) - Positive impact of youth provision

Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS) Children's Champion (Rhondda Cynon Taf) - Positive impact of youth provision

Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) County Borough has a population of approximately 240,000. Aberdare, in the Cynon valley has the largest proportion of service children and a cluster of Commonwealth families have settled in the locality. Most Service children in the local authority have consistent education across their schools and are not mobile.  There are a cohort of Service families, whose parents commute from base to home mainly on weekends and their operational mobility is dictated by the units they serve across the three services. RCT has a very active support network for Service families and veterans including, council members, voluntary groups, a veteran’s information network that supports transition and many other support agencies.

Service children can be more resilient as they bring different experiences and have dealt with a wider variety of issues. Service children that move in and out have other experiences and backgrounds from their different postings around the UK and rest of the world.

Number of Service children registered through SIMs across Rhondda Cynon Taf: 209 ( %)

Case study completed by: Jason Hurford, YEPS Children's Champion


What challenges do Service children and families across RCT face in engaging with Youth provision?

  • Families can be isolated across RCT and transport can be an issue for some children, getting to events and groups
  • Families stay local to the area as this is their home base and the serving parent commutes to their place of work, therefore families often deal with separation
  • Schools will sometimes have a small amount of Service Children that they need to support
  • Some families, regular and reserve, don’t want to be identified as Service families within the area
  • There has been a recent increase in mental health and wellbeing needs across youth age children
  • Speaking and learning Welsh when the family move to the area
  • Emotional challenges from dealing with deployment, time away from the family, which can lead to behaviour challenges for parents and schools
  • Dealing with family problems when families have split and live in different areas - separation and living apart
  • Service families can change the dynamics of a community/situation with their background and experiences.

How does RCT effectively impact on youth provision to support Service children’s needs?

1.    Identifying the needs of Service children
2.    The role of the YEPS Champion
3.    The impact of the role on youth provision
4.    Support for mental health and wellbeing
5.    Links with the local community and the Armed Forces.

1. How does the Youth Provision identify the needs of Service children?

  • With an initial discussion with the children one to one, in small groups or with the family; to talk with them about what they need
  • By undertaking the local authority’s resilience assessment, which is a council tool supporting referrals across many service areas that work with/support children and young people. It identifies how children think and feel and focuses on four key areas of their lives:
  1. Adversity
  2. Resilience
  3. Environment
  4. Vulnerability.
  • The resilience assessment helps identify challenges that young people may face and we then action plan; focusing on support for the areas identified with need, over an intervention period. The assessment is repeated at the end of the support period and the difference between the two assessments will show the improvements for that young person
  • Schools can ask for support from the YEPS Champion to support a child/children via a youth engagement referral
  • The YEPS Champion supports school’s with funding bids to support Service children
  • Children and Service families can self-refer through the school/WICID website – YEPS Service Children’s Champion will support their needs.

 2. What is the role of the Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS) Champion?

  • To support Service children across RCT both primary and secondary schools
  • Identification; formal and informal, dependent on families/child/children’s needs
  • Support the needs of the four categories of Service families - regulars, reservists, veterans (6 years) and bereaved families across all schools
  • Supporting with the impact of a parent’s military life on their child’s education
  • Providing training to other services to highlight the educational and wellbeing needs of pupils from Service families
  • Ensure ongoing engagement for Service children with education and out of school learning opportunities/activities
  • Where appropriate, support Service children to overcome the impact of deployment or mobility
  • Support the transition from primary to secondary education - team building support opportunities
  • Provide training in Service children’s needs and support across all role areas.

3. What impact has the role had on youth provision in the RCT?

  • An increased awareness of the number of Service children in the local authority
  • All schools are aware of Service children’s needs and the importance of identification
  • Schools ask for advice in understanding how to support  Service children and how to access funding when required
  • A variety of support is available for Service children and families
  • Other services will refer the family to the YEPS Champion if support is needed; proactive promotion of the service across the local authority and schools
  • WICID website supports the needs of all Youth age children.

4. How does the Youth provision support mental health and wellbeing?

  • Four new posts have been funded for Youth Mental Health Officers – this is to provide intervention between the identification at school and a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referral; intermediate support is available if needed
  • WICID - access to self-referral through the website by young adults
  • Youth service staff are trained in mental health support as well as other training support including drugs and alcohol misuse/domestic violence and abuse and restorative approaches
  • The current service is aware that most of the support needed is for anxiety
  • Preventative support for younger children - interventions with transition between schools and through the youth provision
  • Supporting children who are not in education (NEET) with a pathway of support.

5. What links does the RCT Youth provision have with the Armed Forces and local community?

  • Liaising with all schools in the area
  • SCIP Alliance
  • Veterans groups in the local communities
  • Reading Force
  • Events in the local community - teddy bears picnic, Armed Forces events
  • Support to clean memorials through youth provision activities
  • Project work on-going in schools - memorials and commemorative events
  • Joint work with The Royal British Legion
  • Transition Officer from 160th (Welsh) Brigade– supported school projects and youth support pathways for NEET open day events
  • Youth Work Wales week - supported by Service children
  • Motivational Preparation College for Training (MPCT) supported events across schools/youth provision
  • Links to colleges in the area to engage youth provision
  • Universities across UK.

 Date produced: December 2019



Other organisations

Service children’s quotes

"As soon as we get used to a house, you get moved - I’ve been to four schools and moved six times."


"I lived in Nepal, then we went to Brunei, then Malaysia."


"In my eyes, you have hundreds of friends in different places."


"I’m used to moving now and mixing with the children... I’ve done it so many times, it’s just a normal thing now."


"It's ok talking over skype and that, but sometimes you just want a hug when Dad is away."


"I’ve enjoyed going around to lots of places around the world, it's adventurous and exciting."


"In my eyes, you have hundreds of friends in different places."


"My mum got a chalk board and it says how many sleeps on it with chalk, every minute it’s getting closer for him coming home."


"I don’t want him to get promoted... I want him to get promoted but I don’t want to leave."


"I might be going to boarding school so that I don’t change schools every few years."


"I've been to seven different schools; I’ve not stayed put in one school long enough."


"He has been away for six months and he is back for two weeks, then he goes away again."


"My parents were in the Army. My mum is a like a nurse and my dad went to the war in Afghanistan. I actually didn’t really know what he was doing so I was like, ‘Cool Dad, go there,’ but then I found out and thought, 'Thank God he came back alive.'"


"He signed off last week, so he will be done by the end of this year. He’s done 24 years. I find that better because he will be around a lot. He likes watching us playing rugby, so he will get to see us more."


"I’m going to a new place entirely. They don’t know anything about me and that’s a big restart and that’s really good for me."


"I moved to Wales because my dad was posted in the Army. I thought I would get bullied and I was shy when you meet new people, but I made some friends."