Case Study 3

This service user is 15 years old and has a history of absconding and substance use. The service user has a diagnosis of ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder and is under a Section 31 Care Order.

North East

Local Authority - Children's Services

Given the nature of the packages we provide, we can't always give the information as to which specific authoity this is under


This package was one of the first we received from Northumberland Council and has proved to be uniquely challenging. This service user is 15 years old and has a history of absconding and substance use. The service user has a diagnosis of ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder and is under a Section 31 Care Order. 

This presented a difficult challenge, as we have not previously supported an individual who regularly absconds. Our bookings and management team have had to liaise with the care team of the young person, to ensure sufficient safeguarding plans are in place. Our bookings consultant has had to recruit and use staff who are experienced in supporting young people with a history of absconding and substance use. These staff members have had to adapt and learn the service user’s crisis plan to provide effective support. Similarly, our consultants had to ensure the necessary documents and training were put in place with staff to ensure anoverview of the service user was available, and staff knew what support would be needed.Furthermore, additional training was needed as there had also been reports of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and sexualised behaviours within the young person.

Care Package Overview

There have been issues surrounding the service user regarding CSE, sexualised behaviours, absconding and substance use. The service user will frequently go missing and return under the influence, with no indication of how they obtained or who supplied the substances. There have been reports from a third party that the service user has offered and provided sexual favours in exchange for substances. Support from Standby staff has focused on providing emotional support for the young person, regular check-ups via text and phone call, and helping the young person be aware of ‘safe spaces’ within the community. 

When the package first began, the service user would abscond daily, engage regularly with substances, and show sexualised behaviours. This was a challenge for us and our staff, as minimising risk was difficult if the young person was rarely around.

After supporting the young person for 3 months, the service user has absconded less, and has talked to members of staff about their history of abuse. The service user has also engaged with the communal ‘safe spaces’ as a means of risk reduction during periods of abscondment. The service user’s behaviour towards staff has also improved, mainly due to the young person getting used to and becoming familiar with staff.

Going Forward

There are still some challenges we face with supporting this package, the service user is reluctant to enter and engage with education. Our staff members are actively working on supporting the young person through an access to education package.

The service user does not have much of a relationship with their family, often lashing out and being physically and verbally abusive. Standby staff and the team are working alongside the service user’s care team to help aid that relationship.

Case Study 8
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Featured Case Study

Case Study 1

Supporting a 17-year-old who has been in a care institution for the last 2 years. The service user has a history of substance abuse, that has been a family norm since they were a child.

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