The YJLD model

Key features of the YJLD model

  • The Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion (YJLD) model is underpinned by a theory of change that draws on early intervention and public health approaches.

  • The YJLD model is proactive about targetting help to some of the most vulnerable children, young people and families (traditionally under-served by community services) and does so at the earliest point of contact with the police. The aim is to contribute to the well-being of local communities through identifying those with the greatest risk factors for poor outcomes and then providing rapid screening, liaison and intervention, as required.

  • The service works on the interface between the youth justice and other community services by:

    • Diverting vulnerable young people away from the youth justice system and towards other services in the community and, where young people need to remain in the youth justice system.

    • Taking speedy action to provide and co-ordinate extra help at their first point of contact with the YJS pathway.

    The model places high value on finding ways of engaging children most at risk of poor outcomes. This is about using assertive outreach approaches; having workers who are creative, patient and persistent; and acting as a single point of access for help, to avoid young people feeling pushed around from one service to another.

  • The model is rooted in partnership working across agencies, liaising rapidly and using everyone’s expertise in order to reach informed decisions about vulnerable children on the edge of or in the youth justice system. This is about multi-agency information sharing, collaborative decision-making and joint accountability for improved safeguarding arrangements and the pursuit of shared outcomes. Research shows how protocols can support sustainable arrangements for quick access to local assessments, as well as helping maintain strong working relationships.

  • The model provides an opportunity to collect data (about vulnerable young people with high, long-term needs and posing the greatest potential costs) and disseminate it to the professionals, commissioners and policy makers responsible for providing services that are likely to make a difference to children’s outcomes and for keeping within budget.


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