Dinnington-based young people’s charity Safe@Last is preparing to launch a new service to support local families.
The charity will have two parent support workers in place by the end of March, to work with the families of children and young people who run away and go missing from home.
Safe@Last works with vulnerable children and young people from across South Yorkshire who are at risk through running away or being thrown out of the place they call home.
The charity delivers a range of services based on the recommendations of the Reach model, which brings together seven key prevention and support services.
The charity has been providing services for young people since 2004 and is developing this new service, with funding from the Railway Children, to also provide support for families.
Safe@Last will now be the only organisation in the UK delivering all seven recommended services.
These include a helpline, one to one support, return home interviews, a preventative education programme, a detached street work project and the only refuge in England for young people who are aged 16 and under.
Tracy Haycox, director of children and young people’s services at Safe@Last said parenting young people is ‘hard work’.
“As adults we’ve usually forgotten we were once a teenager and how difficult it can be,” she said.
“Quite often a boy of 12 and a half loses the power of speech, except with their friends. Then they regain it at 19 and a half. It’s tough for parents to spend seven years with a grunting kid.”
“If we’ve got parents or guardians identifying themselves to us and referring a young person, saying ‘I’ve seen what you do and this is what’s happening to me’ we want to make sure we’re equipped with the right skills to be able to help.”
“The parent support workers will provide emotional and practical help and advice to families who are experiencing long or short term difficulties.”
“They will try and signpost them in the right direction, on to children’s centres and community groups,” she added.
Terina Keene, chief executive at Railway Children, said Safe@Last performs an ‘extremely vital role’ for vulnerable children.
“This new family service will give a voice and support to parents under pressure ensuring they know they also have someone to turn to and are not alone,” she added.
To find out more about the many services Safe@Last offers, visit www.safeatlast.org.uk.