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Seen and Heard: Supporting Vulnerable Children in the Youth Justice System

NCJ Number
Jenny Talbot
Date Published
95 pages
This study examined how staff from youth offending teams (YOTs) identify and support children with particular impairments and difficulties who come to the attention of youth justice services.
The focus of this study is how well youth justice services identify and support children with mental health problems or learning disabilities, and a number of other impairments and difficulties, such as, autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, communication difficulties, special educational needs and specific learning difficulties. Findings from this study show significant variations between local youth justice services, to the extent that children with impairments and difficulties receive treatment and support as much on the basis of where they live, as on need. Contact with youth justice services was shown to create the opportunity to identify and meet children's additional needs. Many examples were found which showed that the additional support needs of children were being identified and met; where youth justice programs and activities were being thoughtfully and skillfully adapted to include children, and where routine training and support for YOT staff took place. The impairments and difficulties included in this study were: mental health problems, very low IQs of less than 70 (possible learning disabilities), communication difficulties, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorder, low levels of literacy, special educational needs and specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia. References and appendixes