Youth Offending Services are key to the success of the Youth Justice System.
These are known locally as Youth Offending Teams ( Lancashire ) or Youth Justice Service ( Blackburn with Darwen) They are made up of a range of staff from social, health, education, housing, police, probation, and drugs and alcohol misuse services. This multi-disciplinary team works together to find out the specific problems that make a young person offend and measure the risk that they pose to themselves and others. Based on these two factors, the service can create a suitable programme that aims to meet the young person’s needs and so reduce the chance of them further offending. The programme is as tailor-made as possible to each individual.
In ELCAS, each geographical team has a YOT (Youth Offending Team) worker who sees young people who are having mental health problems while they are supported by the local youth offending team. Together these professional are known as the Integrated Mental Health Team.
If staff members in YOT are concerned for a young person’s emotional and mental health, they refer the young person to this specialist Practitioner. The Practitioner will then meet the young person to see if they need support for mental health problems. The Practitioner can act as an advocate for young offenders deemed to have mental health problems. The Practitioner can also help lessen, where possible, the extent to which someone’s mental health problems contribute to their offending.
The Practitioner can support a young person on a one-to-one basis, or in partnership with other services in the area, and can give someone further therapeutic support if this is needed. In cases where it appears to be in the best interests of the young person, the Practitioner can refer them to staff working in ELCAS, who will then support the young person. Occasionally, and after discussion with the young person cares and YOT worker, the Practitioner might make a referral to another service and then help make the transfer as smooth as possible.