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Looked After Children: An inspection of the work of Youth Offending Teams with children and young people who are looked after and placed away from home

A Joint Inspection by HMI Probation, Ofsted and Estyn

This inspection looked at a very specific group of children and young people, who are looked after, who were placed away from home and also subject to supervision by YOTs. This group is extremely vulnerable. Some also pose a high risk of causing harm to others, not least the children and young people with whom they are placed.

Concerns had been raised about these children and young people by many of the YOTs we visited during our regular inspection programme of YOT work, particularly those located in areas with a high number of children’s homes. From them we heard about lack of contact by home areas, delays in receipt of information about vulnerability and risk posed to others and difficulties in communication between agencies. This significantly impacted on the work by the host YOT to help children and young people to stop offending.

This thematic inspection clearly revealed the fragmentation of these children’s lives and how the fact of being looked after could escalate a child or young person into the criminal justice system. It also showed how the two factors - being in care and offending – exacerbated each other.