STAR RATING 3/5
This website, which is supported by the National Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders (Nacro), Barnardo’s and the Department for Education and Skills, provides material intended to assist more effective working with children in trouble, and to promote increased awareness of children’s rights and participation in youth justice settings, writes Clea Barry.
There are lots of good practice examples, self-auditing checklists and information sheets plus links to further sources of information. Its starting point – that children in youth justice settings are entitled to human rights – is potentially radical, particularly in such a politicised and sometimes conservative field, where young people’s choices are often restricted. But from the perspective of other children’s rights work the content seems bland.
Many of the tips offered are simply what most youth justice workers would already recognise as good practice, and hardly qualify as revolutionary: listen to young people, give them information, and involve them in decision-making.
But more creative ideas about involving young people in the design of services, and in the recruitment and training of staff are lacking. Young people’s input on the website itself is also limited.
This is a good basic introduction to the issues, provided in a clear and accessible format. Maybe this is what is needed in this multidisciplinary field, where social work values of empowerment and enablement cannot be assumed, but it does not engage deeply enough with the controversial issues to really change minds and policies. It needs a bit more bite.
Clea Barry is a child care social worker, London Borough of Hackney