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Thursday 20th June 2019

Care 'lacking' for youth offenders

23rd June 2011

A new study has warned that more needs to be done to address the mental health and behavioural problems faced by children in the youth justice system.


The Children’s Commissioner for England conducted the research and in findings has raised concerns about the quality and variation in standards with the system too focused on minimising the risk offenders presented rather than helping them.

Areas highlighted for improvement include greater access to mainstream NHS and council services for those affected, and for staff to receive better training.

The report also recommended health screening for offenders and more support when they are discharged from the system.

Services looked at by the Children’s Commissioner including variety of services, detention centres and secure care homes.

The UK has the highest number per head of population in Europe of young people passing through the youth justice system with 6,000 under-18s affected at any one time.

Figures show that 85% of those have personality disorders, 60% have speech or language problems and 25% learning difficulties.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health also called for action and said the system was currently failing many of the children and young people affected.

Sue Berelowitz, who led the review team, said: “We owe it to future generations to push ourselves to do better, much better.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We recognise that young people in custody are some of the most vulnerable in society and that good access to health and mental health services is key to breaking the cycle of offending.”


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