Assessment In The Youth Justice System YJS

Assessment In The Youth Justice System YJS

In the community, the assessment tools used in the youth justice system (YJS) are Assets for children and young people in the formal YJS and Onset for children and young people at risk of offending.

There are also specific screening and assessment tools for substance misuse and for where there are indications of mental health problems (for example, SIFA and SQUIFA). Find out more about Asset, Onset, SIFA and SQUIFA on the Assessment page of the Ministry of Justice website.

In addition, several youth offending teams (YOTs) have developed tools for assessing reading age and speech, language and communication needs.

Asset and Onset were designed to assess risk concerning offending and measure progress in preventing re-offending.

Whilst they include sections on physical, emotional and mental health, and substance misuse, their focus is on the extent to which these health needs are associated with the likelihood of further offending.

As a result, physical health problems are often overlooked, and the rate of mental health problems is underestimated (Actions speak louder: a second review of healthcare in the community for young people who offend, Healthcare Commission and HM Inspectorate of Probation, 2009; Healthy children, safer communities, HM Government, 2009). During 2012 the Youth Justice Board are redesigning their assessment tools.

In custody, a range of other assessment tools are in use at present, including some that have been developed by individual establishments and others that have been tested in different establishments and regions.

These include detailed screening and assessment tools for the identification of health needs.

As part of the work programme under the Healthy Children, safer communities strategy, a single tool for screening health and well-being needs has been developed for use across the youth justice system. This is CHAT – the Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool.

There will be one version for community settings and another for custodial settings. CHAT (Secure) is now available and being rolled out across the secure estate. CHAT (Community) will follow shortly.

Those carrying out an HWBNA may well find it helpful to use information from CHAT to build up a more complete picture of health and well-being needs. Check the section on Auditing need for tools that might help.