Transitional safeguarding: Transforming how adolescents and young adults are safeguarded

Christine Cocker, Adi Cooper, Dez Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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This article argues for a transformation in the protection and safeguarding needs of young people during their transition between childhood and adulthood. In order to explore with local authorities how they would address some of these challenges, the authors facilitated four national workshops with principal social workers, senior and middle managers (n ¼ 88) from approximately one-third of Local Authorities in England (n ¼ 52) from both Children and Adult social services. Participants discussed enablers and barriers to local and regional approaches to transitional safeguarding at practice, managerial, strategic and multi-agency levels. Findings from the workshops showed many examples of commitment to improvement and change, despite funding constraints and system barriers. No single local authority had a coherent and comprehensive approach to Transitional Safeguarding. Although some partnerships had started to lead innovation, it was still too early to demonstrate any effective impact throughout all systems, including whether outcomes for young people had improved. Participants also emphasised that young people should be involved as key stakeholders in developing appropriate responses. The system changes required to improve Transitional Safeguarding practices are complex and involve a re-configuration of the ‘risk’ versus ‘rights’ paradigms that permeate societal responses to the protection of young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287–1306
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • adolescent
  • adult safeguarding
  • children’s safeguarding
  • emerging adulthood
  • transition
  • transitional safeguarding
  • young people

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