The YJLD model

Core service principles

The principles that underpin the provision of services to meet the health and well-being needs of children and young people in contact with the youth justice system are those set out in the Healthy Children, Safer Communities strategy. They reflect established policy and legal commitments to all children.

Key principles for action (as on page 19 of the 2009 government strategy, Healthy children, safer communities - a strategy to promote the health and well-being of children and young people in contact with the youth justice system).

The principles are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and on related legislation in England, in particular the Children Acts 1989 and 2004, and the Human Rights Act 1998. They take account of the fact that this legislation applies equally to children and young people in custody. They are in line with best available evidence. They reflect the responsibilities to eliminate discrimination and promote equality, imposed by the statutory race, disability and gender equality duties.

Services responding to the health and well-being needs of children and young people in contact with the YJS should:

  • treat these young people as children who are entitled to the services that are available to their peers in the community

  • recognise that these children will often require enhanced support and tailored responses in order to achieve equivalence with their peers and increase their chances of achieving good outcomes

  • be based on early and holistic assessment of their individual needs

  • take full account of their individual vulnerabilities, related to their age, gender, ethnic/cultural background, previous life experiences, current situation and any disability

  • properly address problems arising from experiences of discrimination, harassment and bullying based on their sexual orientation, religion/belief, ethnicity or disability or arising for any other reason

  • ensure proper attention is paid to safeguarding young people at risk of, or experiencing, significant harm through abuse or neglect

  • establish for each child a trusted relationship with at least one key adult

  • make full use of the range of agencies and organisations providing local services, to ensure due attention is given to needs that are linked to social relationships, self-care, education and learning, and skills development

  • encourage the engagement of young people and their families by involving them in designing and evaluating the services that are on offer, the way they are delivered, and their accessibility and relevance, and

  • be available long term, where necessary, and help support young people as they negotiate key transitions between childhood and adulthood and between different services and placements.

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