Young people and child protection systems

Research in Practice has published a report, entitled That difficult age: developing a more effective response to risks in adolescence, warning that existing child protection systems are failing to meet the complex needs of adolescents.

Key findings include that:

  • The risks adolescents face are distinct and differ from those facing younger children and older groups;
  • Rather than recognising the unique risks, strengths and opportunities of adolescence, the current child protection system instead applies traditional definitions of risk and approaches to protection which do not necessarily fit with young people‚Äôs lived experience or research;
  • Excellent practice and effective services are evident at local level, although much of it seems to have arisen in spite of the currents system; and
  • Research and practice knowledge should be used to redesign the system in a way that works with the grain of adolescent development, taking a more nuanced approach to risk identification, with relationships at its heart and focused on building resilience; although this will be both effective and cost effective it will require some risk-taking and innovation on the part of sector leaders.

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To download the report visit