Open access

Across the continuum of need, and from pre-birth to 19, many children, young people and families will at some point need support. Open Access can offer practical support and guidance to encourage access to the vast array of service available within community services including Open Access.

Open Access work with children, young people and families at Level 2 support where they adopt a flexible approach enabling support to families as they experience problems. Building voluntary relationships of mutual support is a critical resilience factor. Problems which if addressed early may not always require higher levels of intervention.

This level of flexibility also allows Open Access staff to undertake targeted work which can carry on beyond the life of a statutory intervention and the relationship-based approach can help to mitigate contextual risks which may occur outside the family. Open Access can therefore be utilised to strengthen relational opportunities within the family and community networks providing continuity of support. Building and maintaining trusted relationships in the community provides resilience by protecting and buffering against adversity and trauma.

Developing relationships is at the heart of Open Access. Within youth work the quality of the relationship empowers young people to make the successful transition from child to adult. Within Children's Centres this work is more likely to be directly with parents and carers.

Open Access staff are highly skilled at developing relationships and are adept at understanding inter-relational and group dynamics. As such they actively build and develop relationships with the specific intention of helping individuals recognise and progress their position in life. By placing an emphasis on developing inclusive, respectful relationships, they are able to use theoretical models such as trauma informed principles, and strength-based approaches such as Motivational Interviewing, Signs of Safety and Restorative Intervention to help individuals through risk, vulnerability and transition.