All change as the Youth Green Paper is finally published

A significant proportion of youth offending teams’ work
and resources could be passed to new targeted youth support teams
from 2008, the youth green paper has revealed.

Youth Matters, finally published this week after months of
delay, states that the Youth Justice Board, the Home Office and the
Department for Education and Skills have agreed that Yots should
maintain their role delivering targeted youth crime prevention
programmes “during the current spending review

However, they would be expected to do this in conjunction with
local partners in children’s trusts and crime and disorder
reduction partnerships, while preparing to devolve to local
authorities the elements of their budget relating to the prevention
of youth crime and substance misuse beyond this date.

“We would explore the best way of merging and devolving these
budgets to local authorities while ensuring an increased impact on
youth crime and drugs,” the paper states.

Responsibilities of targeted youth support teams – to be set
up by children’s trusts’ new integrated youth support
services – would include identifying early those young people
in need of additional support or intervention, carrying out
in-depth assessments of young people, and delivering effective
preventive work for groups of young people.

The paper also confirms the demise of Connexions as a national
service, and the survival of some of its local partnerships where
children’s trusts, schools or colleges choose to commission
them to continue to deliver elements of their current work.

Although the green paper’s emphasis on the provision of more
quality local activities and the involvement of young people in the
design and delivery of services has been unanimously welcomed by
the sector, serious concerns remain around funding. This follows
the government’s admission in the green paper that all its
proposals “will be financed within available resources during
the 2004 spending review period”.

Organisations including the Association of Directors of Education
and Children’s Services, the National Youth Agency, and the
National Council for Voluntary Youth Services warned that
“although a duty on local authorities to provide services for
youth may help to clarify existing responsibilities, any new duties
will need to be backed by sufficient funding to turn the vision
into reality”.

Children’s charity NCH added: “We are worried that a
shortage of funds could mean that some of the creative ideas in the
paper may never actually be put into practice.”

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