New plan to target better engagement with youth offenders in Warwickshire

  Posted: 21.07.21 at 12:59 by David Lawrence - Local Democracy Reporter

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A better engagement for young offenders with education, training and employment has been flagged up as one of the key areas of the latest Warwickshire Youth Justice Plan.

That was the message to councillors at this week’s Warwickshire County Council’s children and young people overview and scrutiny committee meeting when officers also outlined some of the challenges going forward.

Sally Nash, a service manager with the council’s youth justice team, explained that the Covid pandemic had also had an impact on many vulnerable young people.

She said: “One action moving forward this year is the engagement of our children in education, training and employment. I guess we all know that the pandemic has impacted most adversely on the vulnerable – be they elderly, disabled or young people. Our youth justice young people are invariably very vulnerable

“Young people without the most proactive parental support have been particularly impacted by home education due to school bubbles being shut. It did require a tremendous amount of proactivity by parents or carers to try and make sure that their education was sustained and sadly quite a few of our young people have fallen victim to perhaps their parents not being as proactive as they might want them to be.

“One of the biggest protective factors for our children is school. It is the structure, the routine, the peer group relationships, the interacting with adults and authority – all of those social skills that children learn at school on top of the academic learning.

“There is an emphasis on tracking young people through education and trying to make sure they access the education they are entitled to. We are trying to make sure that young people are as safe as they can be and that they thrive in their communities and go on to be successful.”

Ms Nash explained that there were challenges in the coming year and added: “We work very hard to ensure that our communities are as safe as possible.

“A key area is the growth and concern about the increase in serious youth violence. Generally the level of youth violence here in Warwickshire has not escalated as much as it has in some other areas of the country but we are not complacent about that and there have been a few very high profile cases.

“We are zealous about this and recognise the concern of communities but also recognise that these are our children and they are out doing things that we would never want them to be doing but we are out working on it and that is a key action moving forward for this year.”

Members of the committee approved and supported the contents of the latest plan and actions will be monitored by the youth justice chief officer board.

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