Young people with multiple debts, or other complex problems, may well need the services of a money advice worker or welfare rights adviser. In that case, someone needs to refer young people to that specialist service.
Young people need supportive referrals, not just vague pointers to try elsewhere.
Help make any referral more likely to succeed. Follow these tips from James Kenrick of Youth Access.
- Know the limits of your competence. Learn to recognise when a young person needs more help than you can give.
- Provide good information to the organisation you are referring to. This will check that the agency is the right one, make them better able to respond appropriately. It will also prevent young people having to go through the whole story again.
- Prepare the young person for what they are likely to find. Draw on your local knowledge of the geography and the organisational culture. In particular, check the welcome young people are likely to receive.
- Find out what information or evidence the specialist agency needs to give help to the young person. Then make sure the young person can gather it and take it with them. It’s very discouraging to go to an appointment only to be told to come back later with evidence of earnings, debts or whatever.
- Make the appointment yourself, or together with the young person. Consider accompanying them if possible. Yes, this can take up resources. But it can pay dividends, and put less demands on resources in the future.
- Make sure you keep in touch. Check how it went, and how the young person feels about it. Because you are handing over the specialist bit doesn’t mean that you cease whatever supportive relationship you have with the young person.