StreetInvest is an International Development NGO, founded in the UK in 2008. It hosts a global network of organisations and individuals who share a vision of putting a trustworthy adult into the life of every street child, helping street-connected children to grow and develop so that they can reach their potential, and reducing the abuse and discrimination that they face. It does this by promoting and supporting a distinct form of youth work called street work, which can be the first step to positive change in a young person’s life.
StreetInvest approached PBE to help consider how to demonstrate the value of a trust-based approach to working with detached young people, with the aim of informing a new programme in the UK. We matched economist volunteers Dr Vindelyn Smith-Hillman and Michael Duncan with this project, and would like to thank them for all their work on the project.
The volunteers compiled a report for the charity which details current evidence on detached youth work, collected through 213 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made to UK local authorities, and considers a potential evaluation approach for StreetInvest moving forward. The report explains that it may be possible to identify the causal impact of detached youth work on outcomes targeted by StreetInvest through a more detailed empirical analysis, comparing specific outcomes across different local authorities over time. This would require specialist econometric advice, further data to be collected from local authorities, and more granular evidence on relevant outcomes such as school exclusion rates. In principle, if a reliable estimate of the impact of detached youth work can be established, the resultant social benefits could be expressed in monetary terms using estimates of the reduction in expenditure on relevant public services (such as social services, crime and health). This can be compared with the cost of detached youth work services to estimate the net social benefit to society.
The report is available to download below.