5th Jul, 2020

Top accolade for service aimed at keeping children out of the law courts

Correspondent 2nd Jan, 2020

A TOP accreditation mark has been awarded to the Worcestershire Area Partnership for their work helping young people with special educational needs.

West Mercia Youth Justice Service and Worcestershire Children First have been awarded an Achievement For All Quality Mark Award for securing better outcomes for children and young people with special education needs in the youth justice system.

Such children can be vulnerable by virtue of their age and developmental immaturity and many can also have complex learning needs, low levels of educational attainment, speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and more untreated health issues than their peers.

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) often go undiagnosed as opportunities to assess the youngsters are sometimes missed, with many not receiving the support they need to achieve positive change.

Achievement For All ‘s Youth Justice SEND project supports youth justice services and local authorities in effectively identifying and meeting the special educational needs and disabilities of such young people, working towards more effective engagement and more positive long term outcomes.

Marius Frank, Project Leader at Achievement for All said: “Few people outside the youth justice system realise the significant numbers of young people with special educational needs who end up in trouble with the police, in front of magistrates, or worse, end up in custody.

“The reasons are manifold: some of these young people have been excluded from school for poor behaviour; some know that they are ‘different’ to other children, but they might not know why – as a result, over time, they have learned to ‘camouflage’ their learning disabilities behind layer upon layer of ‘front’ which you see as poor behaviour.

“Our awards acknowledge and celebrate the Youth Offending Teams who work in close and effective partnerships with schools, academies, other organisations to put policies, processes and practice in place that creates a team around a child, either diverting them away from youth justice pathways or preventing them from entering the youth justice system in the first place.”

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