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AbstractThis article draws on data gathered in a 2 year UK government funded followup study of secondary school children who were permanently excluded from school and who did not return to mainstream settings. It reflects on recent debates concerning different forms of social exclusion and considers what forms of service provision might prevent the multiple and overlapping forms of disadvantage that characterise 'deep exclusion'. This reflection is set in the context of recent policy moves in England which seek to promote practices of 'joined up' or interagency working. It is argued that more attention should be focussed on the organisational climate in which professionals in Children's Services operate. This, it is argued may make it possible to form meaningful relations and patterns of communication that join the services around the young people rather than be constrained by narrow targets that up until now have regulated professional action in the separate agencies that are now, supposedly unified, in Children's Services.