It’s not about the offending!

A new approach to youth justice...

This week the Youth Justice Board published it’s annual stats report.

There’s good news again – fewer kids in prison, and fewer in the system generally.

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/Bram Janssens

But we still have a re-offending rate of 37.9% – pretty much the same as last year (and still a good bit higher than it was 10 years ago!)

Here’s how we might fix it…

The YJB published something else this week – a new video explaining the Enhanced Case Management project (ECM).

YJB Cymru (the Welsh division of the YJB) has partnered up with the Welsh Government and FACTS (the forensic adolescent consultation and treatment service) to test a new way of working with prolific offending young people.

Instead of addressing the offending, there’s a focus on development.

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The Enhanced Case Management approach uses the Trauma Recovery Model (TRM) to guide both assessments and interventions.

The model draws together knowledge and research from a number of different subject areas:

  • Child development
  • Attachment
  • Early brain development
  • Trauma research
  • Adverse childhood experiences research
  • Criminology & desistance theory

None of these areas is new. Obviously. But the TRM weaves them together and puts them to work with young people. That’s the new bit!

The TRM gives practitioners a roadmap to follow that makes sure we address the causes of the offending – abuse, maltreatment, trauma, etc. – rather than the symptoms (the offending itself).

In short, the Enhanced Case Management approach is the application of the TRM to youth justice.

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Here’s the video…

There will be more video to follow on the ECM shortly. To catch them, subscribe to the YJB YouTube channel.

The jury’s out…

We’ve spent the last three years testing this approach with 22 prolific offending young people in three YOTs across Wales. We’ve worked with YOT colleagues to change:

  • Case preparation
  • Assessment
  • Intervention planning
  • Sequencing the work and
  • Staff support

There is an independent evaluation being completed now. Publication should happen imminently.

But as one of those involved in this project, I can tell you the results are extremely encouraging. But news on this will have to wait for another day…  Sorry!   :0)

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Final word…

This video summarises the model itself and the thinking behind it’s application to youth justice.

The YJB stats for last year are good. Once again colleagues working in YOTs have delivered. But the greatest challenge still lies ahead – what to do about those kids who keep offending despite our best efforts to stop them.

The Enhanced Case Management approach using the Trauma Recovery Model shows excellent promise for this group. Watch this space…

What do you think?…

  • What do you think of the video? Are you working in a similar way?
  • Please let me know your thoughts…   Leave a comment below or click here.

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More info…

  • YJB YouTube channel – here
  • Enhanced Case Management summary video – here

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© Jonny Matthew 2017

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