Youth offending teams to trial programme to address trauma

By Neil Puffett

| 09 April 2018

An initiative designed to help professionals better understand young offenders and build trust so they can provide more effective support is to be trialled among youth offending teams (YOTs) in England.

A more intensive way of working with young offenders is to be trialled across four youth offending teams in England. Picture: Youth Justice Board

As part of the serious violence strategy, the government said there is emerging evidence that "trauma-informed" youth justice services can help young people turn their lives around.

A trial of the Enhanced Case Management (ECM) system - which sees a multi-agency team work to understand the key traumatic events in a young person's life and develop tailored interventions to address the underlying reasons for their behaviour, has already been conducted across three YOTs in Wales.

The serious violence strategy reveals that the initiative will now be trialled in England across four YOTs in the South West of England, working alongside NHS England, Public Health England, the local clinical commissioning group and Exeter University.

"Improvements in the lives of young people following ECM involvement were noted [in the Wales pilot], such as improved resilience to chaotic family life, improved self‐confidence, emotion regulation and resilience," the strategy states.

"There were also notable improvements for several young people across criminal justice indicators such as breach and reoffending rates.

"The cohort in the study was small [21 young people] so caution needs to be exercised in generalising the findings further. However, there is a positive indication that the ECM has merit and should be developed and tested further."

Further details have also been provided about the £11m Early Intervention Youth Fund announced by government prior to official publication of the strategy.

The fund will be open to bids from police and crime commissioners with community safety partnerships, and will only be available to youth and community groups that support early intervention and prevention activity with children and young people.

The government has also indicated that applications will likely have to include evidence of cross‐sector support and links with other local provision and schemes, and provide an element of match‐funding.

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