Children & Young People Opinion

Kibble’s specialist IVY service for vulnerable young people is more important than ever before

Dan Johnson, Clinical Director, Kibble

Scotland’s leading children and young person’s charity, Kibble, provide a range of services for vulnerable young people based on the needs of those in its care and beyond.

From trauma-informed schooling to residential houses staffed by highly trained carers and psychologists, Kibble’s ethos is rooted in supporting children and young people on an individual basis, according to their needs. One of the most unique services the national charity provides is Interventions for Vulnerable Youth (IVY) which delivers free specialist psychological and social work support to young people (12-18) whose mental health and high-risk behaviours are unable to be supported by other services. The IVY project receives vital funding from the Scottish Government’s Youth Justice Team.

Dan Johnson, Clinical Director at Kibble discusses the importance of IVY, the only dedicated team of its kind in the UK:

“IVY supports young people who are vulnerable and at a heightened risk of hurting others due to complex behavioural and psychological challenges. Often people do not realise that these young people are marginalised and excluded from services because their needs are too great”.

“IVY supports young people who have a high level of need that is expressed as mental health difficulties and harmful behaviour. Often these young people are underserved because of the complexity of their needs or the severity of their behaviour, services are either overstretched or don’t have the expertise needed- IVY aims to step into that gap”.

“Of course, many services, organisations and professionals throughout the country are doing great work but as mental health issues become more recognised in children and young people, systems are stretched to capacity. There’s also an expertise problem with only a few services able to work with the more complex or severe concerns.

“IVY is made up of a team of forensic psychologists, clinical psychologist and social workers. We work with children but also everyone around them including families, carers and professionals. Our goal is to achieve a shared understanding of the child’s difficulties and then help those around the child use that understanding to support the child in the right way”.

“We believe in individual, trauma-informed care and embed this principle into all of the work of IVY. Those who come into IVY have often had a difficult start in life so it’s crucial that the impact of this is understood.  We look beyond their actions, to the reasons and root causes of their behaviours and this is crucial when working out the best way to help them and those caring for them”.

“Our goal is to fill the gap in existing services, so we accept referrals with mental health difficulties and severe violence or harmful sexual behaviour. Often referrers come to us after struggling to find a service that can match the need due to expertise or waiting lists. It’s often a surprise to people to learn that we’re free and don’t have much of a waiting list! Scottish Government funding has allowed us to remain open and free to all, providing care to those who otherwise may not have been given it”.

“For those who require specialised support from IVY, long waiting lists, absence of expertise and exclusion from mainstream support services can be catastrophic to them and their families. And unfortunately, the number of people requiring such specialist care is only on the rise. The pandemic has increased the need, and the demand for therapeutic and psychological services like IVY.”

“Being the only service of its kind to work across the whole country is what makes IVY such a special, and vital service”.

Edel Harris





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