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Children stay out of residential care

None of the nine children supported by Affinity Trust’s Positive Behaviour Support service in Bradford has entered residential care as a result of their challenging behaviour, according to a new evaluation.

Affinity Trust launched its Positive Behaviour Support service for children and young people with learning disabilities in Bradford in January 2018. Since then, the service has expanded and now also operates in Gloucestershire and Greater Manchester. The children and young people supported by this service all live at home, and their key workers spend up to 30 hours a week with them – at home, in schools, and in other settings.

The Tizard Learning Disability Review has now published an evaluation of the Positive Behaviour Support service in Bradford, written by Affinity Trust staff and then peer-reviewed.

Main findings of the evaluation

  • None of the nine children with whom Affinity Trust’s Positive Behaviour Support service in Bradford has worked have entered residential care as a result of their challenging behaviour and all but one remain living in their family home, the exception living locally in Bradford at a residential unit due to issues unrelated to challenging behaviour.

  • The initial contract for the Bradford PBS Service was to prevent 70% of referrals from entering residential care as a result of their challenging behaviour. At the time of writing, the service maintains a 100% success rate on this key performance indicator.

  • To date, the service has been paid a total of £266,500 for keeping six children in Bradford out of residential care across 28 months, with the others not yet being eligible for outcome payments due to being within nine months of referral.

  • The service has arguably contributed to the avoidance of significant additional costs to local authority and NHS commissioners.

Background

  • It is estimated that 12% of children and young people aged 0-18 years with a learning disability will present some form of behaviour that challenges.

  • While a proportion will be successfully supported in their families and at school, some will present severe and enduring challenging behaviour that places themselves or others at significant risk and increases the likelihood of residential placement.

  • In 2015 in England, around 22% of those under 18 years in inpatient units were there for ongoing behavioural treatment. Admission to such units or to out-of-area residential settings may lead to significant restrictions on young people’s quality of life and may have little or no therapeutic benefit.

  • Such placements also constitute a major financial burden for local authorities and the National Health Service.

  • Positive Behaviour Support services can provide significant cost savings and enable children to stay within family homes and local schools. Proactive, early intervention with children and families can also help prevent difficulties continuing into adolescence and adulthood.


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