Identification, screening and assessment
Stage 2 – Check service information
This stage acts as a second filter. The purpose is to clarify what is known about the young person newly referred to the team. This will help the Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion (YJLD) worker to avoid duplicating work being done by other agencies already involved with the young person and their family. It will help establish the need for any collaborative work to respond to what may amount to multiple needs overall.
The work at this second stage will need to be both thorough and systematic. It will also need to be underpinned by local information-sharing protocols, to ensure that agencies are clear about the importance of working together and how and when to do so.
YJLD workers will need to check for information that is held by professionals and recorded on agency systems. This might include those working in the voluntary sector as well as in statutory agencies.
Checking with professionals
This can help to:
- Update on recent events and on any change in risk factors.
- Determine whether a multiple/complex needs panel should be called. If many professionals are involved with the family and children this can be a helpful mechanism for planning a more co-ordinated approach.
- Decide whether follow-up work is needed and who is best placed to do that.
- Keep in mind the importance of discussing matters with the young person and their family whilst taking care not to overload or irritate them with repeat assessments or too many professionals.
- Ensure that good use of existing systems is made and expertise used to support those, rather than establishing new arrangements. For example, if a lead professional is already in place, following a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) assessment, YJLD workers will want to liaise closely with that professional about meetings to be convened and action to be taken.
Checking data held on systems
Checking local database systems will usually go alongside the above discussion with professionals. It is about collecting any relevant reports or assessments already completed and checking other relevant information that is available.
Some YJLD sites routinely access the following local systems:
- Police and Youth Offending Team (YOT) databases - including the police/YOT information-sharing systems.
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) database - for information about mental health services for young people that have been requested, offered or received.
- Children’s services database - for information about CAF and lead professionals and about services requested, offered or received to address family needs, including families with multiple needs.
- Local education database - for information about school attendance and exclusion patterns.
- Social care database - for information about services to parents and other adult relatives.
- Child health and adult health databases - for information about physical health needs, parental mental health, and child and/or adult substance misuse services.
In some police areas, Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH) are being established, to try and improve the sharing of information about vulnerable children and adults. MASH systems bring together different professionals in police premises, on the assumption that co-location of people (and their computer systems) makes for more effective information sharing.
These checks with professionals and local information systems will help determine the next steps for YJLD, now that the referral has been filtered (Stage 1).
There may be no need for further action. Or the next step might be Stage 3 - Screening, or Stage 4 - Assessment, or Stage 5 - Interventions.
Young people not known to other services
The above work will have highlighted any young person who is not known to other agencies. These are the young people that the team will most want to focus on at Stage 3 – Screening.