More work needed with social services

Youth offending teams have made a good start in addressing
offending by children and young people, but a lack of joint working
with social services is leaving vulnerable children at risk.

The probation inspectorate’s first annual report of Yot inspections
finds that many of the children and young people seen by Yot staff
are in need of protection and safeguarding.

But, despite the investment in Yots made by social services
departments in terms of seconded staff and managerial support, the
report highlights an “apparent lack of communication and joint
working between the two organisations”.

Yot staff told inspectors that “only children and young people at
the highest and most immediate risk were accepted [by social
services] as referrals”. This did not allow for intervention where
there were significant needs, the inspectors argue.

Even in cases of looked-after children, which varied from 3 to 17
per cent of all cases in the 11 Yots inspected, liaison with social
services only occurred in 61 per cent.

The inspectors found Yots were fulfilling their role in preventing
offending, helped by effective partnership working. Only 26 per
cent of youths reoffended in the course of their contact with Yots,
inspectors found, and 61 per cent said they had “definitely”
stopped offending.

The Association of Directors of Social Services lead on youth crime
John Coughlan said the concerns about the lack of referrals were
worrying, but probably reflected the pressures on children’s
services, which were “intense at the moment”.

The ADSS had drawn up guidance with the Youth Justice Board to help
improve collaboration, he added.

– Report from

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