The Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) and the Interventions for Vulnerable Youth (IVY) Project have responded positively to the recommendations made in the Scottish Government’s ten-year Mental Health Strategy, which was published today.
CYCJ contributed to the consultation, focusing on the very specific needs of young people involved with the justice system and secure care, and issues around forensic risk, or the assessment, intervention and management of vulnerable young people.
With a commitment to a holistic and consistent approach for children and young people across support services, the new strategy has an increased focus on prevention and early intervention and specialised support for young offenders.
The strategy also mentions the recommendation for a mental health/health care pathway for young people in and on the edges of, secure care, which was made in CYCJ’s Secure Care in Scotland: Looking Ahead paper.
Claire Lightowler, Director of CYCJ, said:
“As a Centre working with young people involved in, or at the edges of offending, we welcome this focus on addressing the underlying causes of offending by children. Growing evidence shows children who are involved in offending are almost always our most vulnerable, victimised and traumatised young people. Most children who experience adverse child experiences and trauma do not go on to seriously offend, but children who are involved in serious offending almost always have experienced trauma.
“This is reflected in our recent body of work, which has included an evaluation of trauma, bereavement and loss developments at HMYOI Polmont, responses to offending behaviour in residential childcare, and extending the Whole System Approach to 21 year olds, acknowledging that young adults do not fully develop until their mid-20s and therefore require specific support to address risk and needs.
“We look forward to continuing to work together to meet the needs of Scotland’s vulnerable children and young people, challenging stigma relating to mental health and ensuring we are helping to give timely and appropriate support to parents, carers and professionals.”