September 2011 - BASW England Consultation Response to the Justice Committee Inquiry into the future of the Youth Justice Board and youth offending teams
Children and young people in the youth justice system must be afforded the same protections and safeguards as all children. We do not support youth justice services simply being hived off to the Ministry of Justice and solely being within their jurisdiction. Many of the children in the youth justice system are the same children who are assessed by children’s services as being vulnerable and in need of protection. The Department for Education therefore, must share responsibility for these children with the Ministry of Justice. A child centred approach must be at the heart of youth justice services and be compliant with domestic childcare legislation as well as the UNCRC and other relevant international and European conventions. Better safeguards must be embedded in the system to prevent tragic deaths of children from happening in the secure estate and also providing alternative and effective strategies to the current use of restraint which in many cases has resulted in children’s welfare being harmed. Youth justice services must be adequately funded in order that effective work can be carried out in the community particularly in the area of early intervention and preventative work.