Our team provides two pathways of work, we consist of Health support across both stoke and Staffordshire youth offending services and we also provide the Youth pathway within the Staffordshire Liaison and Diversion team.
We are a multi-skilled team consisting of Mental health nurses, Children’s nurse, General nurse/health visitor, Assistant practitioner, Support time recovery worker and Speech and language therapist.
The team ethos is around supporting young people and their families when they find themselves in contact police and criminal justice agencies, working to the principle of ‘Child First, Offender Second’.
Liaison and Diversion strives to work in accordance with our trust values whilst also working collaboratively with our partnership agencies.
The children and young people that we support through their journey often have a variety of complex needs and/or vulnerabilities.
These can include, safeguarding concerns, difficulties with their emotional/mental wellbeing, substance use, learning difficulties/disabilities, physical health concerns, speech and language difficulties and issues within education settings.
We work closely with several agencies to help our children and young people getting access to the support they need. Our service maintains close links with universal services, social services and the education sector.
Some of the other main services we work with include:
- Youth Offending Team (YOT): We work alongside the YOT by attending joint appointments and being present at weekly triage meetings
- CAMHS: We have established positive links with practitioners at CAMHS by attending Multiagency/Single Point of Access meetings
- T3 the drug and alcohol service: We maintain open communication with T3 workers and will often complete joint appointments
- Speech and Language Therapist: Within our team we are have a speech and language therapist who works closely with the YOT to address any communication difficulties a child/young person may have. Speech and Language assessments are completed and shared with relevant agencies.
By building an understanding of the health and wellbeing needs of an individual and the challenges they may face will enable us to assess, identify and address any unmet health and wellbeing needs they have and provide support to access services to meet these needs.
The Liaison and Diversion Team offer a service to anyone from the age of criminal responsibility. In the UK this is 10 years old with no upper age limit.
As the Youth Liaison and Diversion Pathway the primary focus is childhood and adolescence (ages 10 to 18 years).
We work closely with the Staffordshire Policing Triage process to support decision making around police outcomes and ensure that health needs are understood and explored.
The team aim to building relationships with young people who find themselves in the criminal justice system and face a court appearance. The role of this team is to explore and identify any health needs and consider whether this has impacted upon offending behaviour. We seek to understand why and how a child has found themselves in the criminal justice system and share these thoughts with police and the courts through pre-sentencing reports. We offer health support to young people to address unmet needs including signposting to appropriate agencies.
As a service we engage with the young person (YP) and by completing a screening we can help to identify areas in which a young person may be struggling and requiring additional support or a referral to a specialist service.
The screening also helps us to identify factors that may have contributed to the current offence, allowing us to advocate for the young person in multidisciplinary meetings.
The case is discussed and we provide any health information that is relevant to that offence or offending behaviour and information on how we plan on supporting the young person to address this. We also contribute to the discussion about the outcome of the offence and in some cases we are able to contribute to the police changing this to the most appropriate outcome for the young person and their circumstances.
We complete a health screening to help identify any needs and offer support to address those needs.
We are in a fortunate position that we are able to support young people without them fitting the criteria of another service as we are a multi-skilled team, this means that if we identify an area that a young person is struggling we can offer support to address that need.
Irrelevant of our background or role the support may be by providing practical support such as transporting to appointment and using our own unique set of skills and professional tools to engage with the young person during their current circumstances.
We provide education and support around;
- Sexual health
- Mental Health
- Bereavement support
- Substance misuse
- Healthy eating/ diet
- Emotional health
- Anger management
- Smoking cessation support
- Healthy relationships/ consent
“Child first, offender second.”
The youth Justice Board set out standards for children in the youth justice system. These standards define the minimum expectation for all agencies that provide statutory services to ensure good outcomes for children in the youth justice system. Our views:
- We advocate for young people who have come in to contact with the police. We look at health needs and external factors that may contribute to their offending behaviour and help to ensure that they receive the most appropriate outcome, offering support to address the identified needs and reduce the risk of future offending
- We aren’t here to excuse what has happened but go some way to help explain it
- To be curious about the young people we work with (plus their families & environment) meet them on their level; discover what makes them tick and what they may need from us and others for support. We’re also there to challenge them (i.e. what are they doing already/what they want to do) and other professionals; to advocate for the YP and avoid criminalising them; to support them with any changes in their behaviour (and to have an understanding about some behaviours)
- Reduce harm and advice around sexual health/sleep/healthy eating/substance misuse/relationships and so on
- We are here to actually listen to the young person, to give them the time to talk without feeling like we are just there to tick boxes