Interventions and pathways
Interventions and pathways
This section is about getting the right support for children and young people whose needs have been identified through the Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion (YJLD) screening and assessment process. Based on our learning from the pilot sites, it seeks to draw together the key features of the YJLD intervention.
Providing the right support
In order to provide the right support, YJLD workers fulfil the following main functions:
The YJLD intervention helps build up a broader picture of vulnerable young people and their needs at an early stage of contact with the police. Interventions support access to and engagement with health, parenting, educational and social packages of care thereby supporting diversion. YJLD workers act as a conduit between health, social, voluntary sector and youth justice systems helping the flow of relevant information between these systems.
Most importantly, workers actively support and track engagement with services and provide interim support to young people and their families and troubleshoot any early problems with access and ongoing engagement with packages of care. Diversion can either be away from the youth justice system (YJS) or can provide a broader range of health, social and educational support as part of offending behaviour packages.
Key features for success
Our learning from the YJLD pilot site evaluation indicates that the following features of the intervention provided by YJLD were important to success:
- More than anything, it appears that focused attention and periods of one-to-one contact is what the children and young people especially value.
- All of the YJLD staff talked of the difficulties getting some young people to engage with services. YJLD staff recognised the need to develop flexible responses to engaging young people which often involved being patient and making numerous attempts at contact.
- Having a key worker was important. Project staff usually engaged with young people for a period of up to 3 months or 12 appointments/contacts with the young person and/or family.
- The more appointments kept and hours of contact made with YJLD workers, the greater the improvement in health outcome monitoring scores.
Helping to shape and target YJLD interventions
The evaluation showed the following findings, which help to shape and target YJLD interventions:
- YJLD interventions particularly improved outcomes scores for depression and for risk of self harm.
- Most young people picked up by pilot sites had problems which fell below the threshold for accessing specialist health, social and educational support.
- Concentration levels and levels of ability and understanding were generally reported as being low among those engaged with the YJLD pilots. Workers felt that both screening processes and interventions needed to match the learning styles and abilities of the children accessing the scheme.
- Children in families with lower knowledge of the services available to support progress fared worse in terms of their mental health outcomes in pilot sites than those whose parents had better knowledge of services. This suggests that these parents and children might need to be prioritised for additional assistance.
The HoNOSCA screening tool has a section which systematically tracks parents knowledge of services.
Supporting engagement with the assessment process and with packages of care
We have learnt that vulnerable young people don’t always get to appointments for a whole range of reasons. It may be important to support very vulnerable young people and families to attend initial appointments when referrals have been made to other agencies. It will also be important for the worker to monitor that appointments have been kept and to troubleshoot any difficulties that families may face in getting the help that they need. This may mean adopting a watching brief after referral, handover to other agencies during the initial weeks and liaising with partners where drop-out occurs.