The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council has approved the ‘Relationship Building Together’ (RBT) initiative – a project largely evaluating how services using the Trauma Recovery Model (TRM) can benefit those children affected by trauma.
The collaborative bid to establish the RBT scheme involved six teams within 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 Service (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 the UK 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 a commissioned evaluation team from the University of Kent, the project is set to take place from October 2023 until 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.
Policing Minister in the UK Government 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.”
Cllr Jon-Paul Blundell, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We are extremely excited about the RBT project and the possibilities it may offer to our young people who have experienced trauma.
“The six teams from the council involved in the project, currently work with approximately 1000 children each year, and it is estimated that over 75 per cent of those children have experienced significant trauma. This has impacted on their ability to develop meaningful relationships and has led to problematic behaviour.
“Many of these children fall below the threshold of CAMHS and other neurodevelopmental services, meaning that their vulnerabilities do not allow them to access the help that would enable recovery from the trauma they have experienced.
“Support for children to recover from trauma is often implemented when the child’s situation has escalated. For example, when the young person has ventured into criminality, when they have been exploited, or when they have experienced numerous care placements.
“This project aims to work with children at a much earlier point in their journey, prevent escalation, and support them to recover from any trauma they may have experienced.
“The scheme is a worthy one, which holds much promise for improving the wellbeing and quality of life of our young people.”