TOaST stands for the Therapeutic Outreach and Support Team. They are part of a new pilot to support children and young people aged 5 to 25 displaying emotional and behavioural distress, but who do not meet the criteria for other support.

This may mean that someone is having emotional or behavioural difficulties with their schoolwork, or with their family or friends, but it's not affecting their day-to-day living.

The pilot will include therapeutic support based on Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and other therapy principles based on research and evidence (evidence-based interventions).

The support may vary from person to person as everyone has different needs and experiences.

Currently we're taking a phased go-live, which means we're only able to support those displaying behavioural distress. We're currently only supporting on behavioural distress until we can recruit to further therapeutic roles. It's expected that these roles will be in post by September 2023.

Find out more about Positive Behaviour Support.

TOaST timeline

Initial assessment period (approximately 4 weeks)

The child or young person will be allocated a Behaviour Practitioner.

The assessment will likely involve all key people in the individual’s life. This includes those from home, school and a social worker, as well as the individual themselves.

The Behaviour Practitioner will need to gather information so that they can complete a functional assessment of the behaviour of concern. This means that they are looking to find out:

  • why the behaviour is happening
  • what is making it more likely to happen or continue to happen
  • what strategies can be put in place to support the individual.

Each assessment is tailored to the individual, so it does not always follow the same pattern.

Intervention - Behaviour Support Plan development and implementation (approximately 10 weeks)

After assessment, a hypothesis and summary statement with a prediction as to what the function of the behaviour of concern is will be suggested by the Behaviour Practitioner.

A hypothesis is the practitioner's best guess as to what the triggers of the behaviour are, or the reason why it continues happening.

A plan will be developed to support goals to increase skills, opportunities and environments that support life quality, as well as goals to reduce behaviours that challenge. The goals will be different for each individual, and will be developed by both the individual and the people around them.

Review (6 and 12 months post intervention)

Six months after the intervention period has ended, a review will take place to see how the Behaviour Support Plan is going and if the goals have been met. There is also an opportunity to make amendments.

Following this, if amendments are required, the Behaviour Practitioner will provide further support. This will follow a similar format with assessment and intervention.

In another 6 months (12 months after the intervention has finished) a further review will take place. At this time either amendments will be made, or TOaST support will end.

How to refer

We're currently only accepting referrals through social care professionals (including early help) and from schools leading on an early help partners plan.

Speak to your early help coordinator for more information about the early help partners plan.

Find out more

If you have any queries about TOaST or PBS, please email the team directly at