Setting and tracking goals with children and young people: CORC member staff training

The Children’s Society provide specialist support that empowers young people to make positive changes and rediscover their hope. Alongside their structured support provision, they deliver wellbeing drop-in services BEAM and Pause across the Midlands, to support young people under the age of 25 with their mental health and wellbeing. They also work nationally to support children and young people and produce the Good Childhood Report which reports annually on young people’s wellbeing in the UK. 

Goal-based measures are often used alongside a symptom or wellbeing outcome measure to capture a broad range of data and support individual recovery. Tracking collaboratively set goals throughout treatment may have a number of benefits, including capturing data which is not covered by existing measures and increasing the satisfaction of care for parents of children with goals set1. To get the most from this work, it is important that staff have the necessary skills and confidence: understanding how to introduce goals alongside other measures, and how to establish collaborative, appropriate goals with young people are key to integrate goals successfully into routine practice.    

The Children’s Society determined an outcomes protocol based upon the routine use of the Goal Based Outcome (GBO) tool across all of their emotional wellbeing and mental health services, as a measure of the child or young person’s goal(s) for treatment, alongside a suitable symptom or wellbeing outcome measure. The services deliver support in different formats, from long-term to very short-term drop-in support. To support staff in developing their knowledge, understanding and confidence with integrating the GBO into their practice, they reached out to CORC.   

Lee Atkins - the CORC Regional Officer supporting The Children’s Society – designed and facilitated an interactive online half-day staff training workshop. This was delivered at multiple times for multiple teams to engage in, ensuring that all staff had the opportunity to develop their capabilities.  

The core elements of the training were: 

  • Why children and young people’s goals are so helpful in treatment: the benefits 

  • What children and young people tell us about the use of goals in their treatment 

  • Exploring the Goal Based Outcome tool 

  • Setting goals collaboratively  

  • Tracking and monitoring goals 

  • Common challenges and considerations for implementing goals in practice 

1 Wolpert, M., Zamperoni, V., Napoleone, E. et al. Predicting mental health improvement and deterioration in a large community sample of 11- to 13-year-olds. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry29, 167–178 (2020). 


Lee shared his reflections on delivering goals training: 

‘There’s a bit of an art to setting and monitoring goals with children and young people, which is often overlooked when services make the decision to integrate this way of working into their delivery. As per all outcome and feedback tools, we recommend that staff have the opportunity to engage in training, including practicing introducing and using the tools with children and young people. 

The workshops that were delivered to staff at The Children’s Society provided the opportunity for staff working in diverse contexts, including those providing very short-term interventions, to have a go at using the GBO tool in a way that benefits children and young people the most. It was also important to recognise the potential challenges of doing so, and to consider ways to overcome or alleviate them.’ 

To find out more about CORC membership, or tailored training, please contact 


Our use of cookies

CORC is using functional cookies to make our site work. We would also like to set optional cookies (performance cookies). We don’t use marketing cookies that display personalised ads for third party advertisers.

Essential & functional cookies

Essential and functional cookies make our website more usable, enabling functions like page navigation, security, accessibility and network management. You may disable these through your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Performance cookies

These remember your preferences and help us understand how visitors interact with our website. We would like to set Google Analytics cookies which will collect information that does not identify you. If you are happy for us to do this, please click “I’m ok with cookies”.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use and how they work, please see our Cookies Policy: