The Community Adolescent Service (CAS) aims to support adolescents at risk with a shared and consistent approach between services.
The model is centred around two multidisciplinary hub teams using a social pedagogy/relationship-based approach and a single, integrated family plan.
CAS staff have a shared vision and evidence-based practice framework, underpinned by training in social pedagogy and restorative practice methods. The pilot aimed to create a single referral process, key worker and family plan, and to deliver active participation for young people at all stages of design and implementation.
Sefton Council have committed to developing many of the features of the project in a sustainably funded CAS service.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that:
- Overall, the project achieved mixed success. The original blueprint was overly ambitious, incorporating too many sub-pilots, and the CAS suffered from a lack of strategic oversight in the early stages.
- Approaching two-thirds (65%) of CAS cases were closed because the original aims in the plan were achieved. A smaller proportion of cases were closed, owing to withdrawal of consent (26%) or moving out of area (9%).
- Around 5% of young people who were the subject of a CAS episode went on to become looked after. The main factors identified by CAS teams included case complexity and referrals made to the CAS too late.
- Young people and families consistently self-reported improvements to self-confidence, family relationships, engagement in education, healthier lifestyles and behaviours, and being able to remain at home safely.
- The trust in the relationship with the key worker and participation in setting goals were particularly valued by young people, although they often had high expectations of the accessibility of their key worker.
- There was some evidence of savings arising from service improvements, including reduced numbers of different professionals involved per individual CAS case and streamlining of administrative processes.