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Working with Hard-to-Reach Young People: A Practical Guide

DescriptionThis document provides practical guidelines for professionals who seek to improve their engagement with hard to reach young people
ISBN978 0 7559 5597
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMarch 04, 2008


ISBN 978 0 7559 5597 8
This document is also available in pdf format (820k)


What we mean by hard-to-reach
Parents, Peers, School and the wider Community

The underserved
Black and minority ethnic young people
Does ageism start at 16?
Rural isolation

Setting up your street based service
Tools of the job
Always work in pairs
Setting goals

Making contact
Building relationships
Manage young people's expectations thoughtfully
Dealing with challenging behaviour
Keep the boundaries clear
Work at their pace
Respect young people's territory
Create learning readiness
Child protection

Your safety on the street
On-call back-up
Avoid trouble
If in doubt get out
Emergency procedure

Measuring success
Recording your work
Data Protection

Core requirements

This document provides practical guidelines for professionals who seek to improve their engagement with hard-to-reach young people with a view to reducing offending. It is largely geared towards youth workers, in both the statutory and voluntary sectors who aim to reach young people on the streets. It is also an appropriate reference point for specialist organisations such as, the police, the fire service and health and education professionals, that wish to do targeted outreach work with specific groups of young people especially if this involves going out to where those young people are.

These guidelines will help you to view young people and their behaviour within the context of the family, the community and their peers. It will provide you with clear boundaries for your work to ensure that you are aware of your own limitations as well as the possibilities. It will enable you to understand and manage the risks associated with this type of work appropriately.

We want all young people in Scotland to benefit from positive opportunities, which make a real difference to their lives, and a youth work sector equipped and empowered to achieve ongoing positive outcomes for young people now and in the future.

Developed by Streetwork UK and the Scottish Government


I am banned from everywhere. I used to go to the club but Laura goes and she was always being bitchy and everyone would do what she said. They won't let me go back because I lost my temper and hit her and now they say that I am a risk to the other people and the staff. It was ages ago but they still say I am too much trouble - I wouldn't want to go now anyway but they have discos there on a Friday and everyone goes so I just have to wait outside or sometimes my mates stay out with me.