Social services “kept in the dark”

    Poor inter-agency working means social services are “kept
    in the dark” when vulnerable young people in their care enter
    the criminal justice system, a report to be published this week
    claims, writes Maria Ahmed.

    The study by charity Revolving Doors finds that a
    “territorial” approach by agencies is blocking the
    smooth transition of young offenders between services.

    It cites cases where agencies are “simply not talking to
    each other,” such as when housing agencies are not contacted
    in advance of young people leaving custody.

    The report highlights a “cliff-edge” of provision
    when young people reach the age of 18, with “little or no
    bridge” between youth offending teams and the probation
    service.

    “The point at which some services end and others take over
    appears to be arbitrary and is inconsistent between
    services,” it says.

    The report on cases of 76 young offenders helped by Revolving
    Doors also raises concern over the “far-reaching”
    impact on young people’s behaviour of high levels of
    childhood trauma linked to physical, emotional and psychological
    abuse.

    “It is critically important that this trauma is recognised
    and understood if the young people are to stand any chance of
    engaging effectively with the services that are intended to support
    them,” the report says.

    It also finds that young offenders have an average of two mental
    health problems, including depression, anxiety and psychosis, but
    are in a “catch 22” of being unable to access support
    services without a formal diagnosis.

    Report from: www.revolving-doors.co.uk

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