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

“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

“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:

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