Youth Justice Team
The Youth Justice Team is a specialist resource within Children's Services. Based in Arbroath, the team was created as one of the components of Angus Council's strategic response to the problems of youth crime. A young person meets the criteria for a service if they are considered a persistent offender as defined in the National Standards for Youth Justice. The team uses the ASSET risk assessment tool. The intervention provided by the Youth Justice Team is informed by the "what works" research and meta-analysis which shapes much of the current thinking and effective practice in reducing levels of offending. This research promotes the use of methods of Work undertaken by the Youth Justice Team with young people referred to them adheres to the underlying principles of "what works":
- Assessment identifies risk classification
- criminogenic needs are addressed
- programme integrity is maintained
- the responsitivity or the "learning style" of the young person informs work
- sufficient service is provided to effect change
- programmes of work mainly draw on cognitive-behavioural theories and young people are support is given in developing skills.
Each young person referred for a programme of work is initially assessed using the ASSET risk assessment tool; this marks a change from the previous arrangements when the YLS/CMI tool was used. A programme plan is then drawn up which addresses all of the risk factors identified in the assessment. Each young person's plan is designed to meet their individual needs and sets targets and objectives which are reviewed at least three monthly. The team also run short-term groups to address offending behaviour and there are plans to run:
- a road traffic offence group
- an alcohol awareness group
- a victim awareness group
- an activity group (during school holidays)
The groups will be run with other services including TCA (Tayside Council on Alcohol), Tayside Fire Brigade and Social Work Community Support Services.
In order to comply with "what works" principles; the level of intensity of service needs to be matched to the level of need identified in the risk assessment. Young people are therefore generally seen for approximately three hours per week, usually over two sessions. Most young people are involved with the team for at least six months and many require longer periods of intervention to effect positive change. Regular contact is maintained with parents and carers (where appropriate) in order to promote their positive support for the programme of intervention.
"most young people are involved with the team for at least six months"