October marked the launch of the Relationship Building Together (RBT) project – an initiative evaluating how services using the Trauma Recovery Model (TRM) can benefit those children and young people affected by trauma.
Together with an evaluation team from the University of Kent, the RBT scheme involves six teams from across the local authority, working together with the All-Wales Forensic Adolescent Consultation Treatment Service (FACTS) – a department of the Children and Adolescent and Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The RBT scheme is one of only four successful projects across England and Wales, and the only initiative in Wales, to secure funding through the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) via its Trauma-Informed Practice Funding Round, co-funded by the Home Office. The YEF funds projects across England and Wales that aim to gain knowledge of successful strategies to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence.
Jon Yates, Executive Director at the Youth Endowment Fund, said: “Training teachers, social workers, youth justice and early help practitioners to identify signs of trauma could help more children to access the right support early and prevent problems later in life. The problem is that we lack proper evidence on whether this sort of training actually makes a real difference or not.
“While the use of trauma-informed training has grown rapidly in recent years, the same can’t be said for the number of evaluations or robust studies into the practice. This funding will make great strides in changing that.”
Having been refined and finalised, with the help of the commissioned evaluation team from the University of Kent, the project started this month and is set to close in March 2025. It will be piloted within six teams across the council’s Family Support Group, working with approximately 800 children. The scheme will encompass staff training in TRM, as well as the recruitment of additional posts – including a clinical psychologist position.
Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philp, said: “Tackling serious violence is a key priority for this government, and we must do everything we can to protect young people from harm and criminality.
“This research will be vital to gaining a better understanding of the root causes of youth violence and will be key to helping us and the YEF support children in managing their trauma and avoiding a life of violent criminality.”
Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We are all enthused by this project and what it promises to offer young people not only across the county borough, but more widely across the UK.
“Due to the challenges and complexities that an evaluation of this scale presents, it is the first time that a project of this magnitude has been implemented. We are hoping that this rigorous evaluation of the TRM will provide a strong evidence base on which to build the future.”