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3.5.1 The Youth Offending Service and Children 'In Need'

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

For the full description of the interface between the Youth Offending Service and Children's Social Care, please refer to Cambridgeshire County Council Internal Intranet to view the Joint Working Protocol: Social Care and Youth Offending Service Social Care Protocols (Reviewed June 2016). This includes details of the legislation and relevant guidance.

Also please see the Youth Justice Board website.

The arrangements regarding situations where a young person known to either service requires a service from the other are outlined below.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was entirely revised and updated in October 2017 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Principles of Joint Working
  2. Referrals
  3. The Police Station
  4. Court
  5. Remands of Children Otherwise than on Bail
  6. Custodial Sentences
  7. Local Authority Residence Requirement


1. Principles of Joint Working

Children’s Social Care and the YOS staff have an overarching commitment to work jointly and share information about young people that offend to assist in the reduction of risk of reoffending and harm and to promote the safety and wellbeing of the young person and their family. This includes, but is not limited to, the following responsibilities:

  • As part of the initial assessment process for all YOS cases, YOS staff will check whether there is Children’s Social Care involvement with the young person or their family. Contact will be established between the two services and relevant information shared throughout their involvement with the family;
  • Where both agencies are involved over some time, the allocated workers will liaise closely to ensure they work jointly towards the agreed aims within CIN/CP/LAC and YOS plans;
  • YOS staff will prioritise attendance at Children’s Social Care case meetings including Child Protection Conferences, Core Groups, Child In Need Meetings, LAC Reviews and Strategy Discussions;
  • Children’s Social Care staff will prioritise attendance at YOS Risk Planning Meetings;
  • When either agency is considering case closure, staff will liaise to ensure that appropriate interventions are in place.


2. Referrals

YOS staff complete an AssetPlus assessment for all young people subject to assessment or intervention. This includes an assessment of the risk of harm posed by the young person and concerns for the safety and wellbeing of the young person. If safety and wellbeing concerns are assessed as ‘medium’ or above, or if concerns are raised about siblings in the family home, YOS will consider a safeguarding referral to the MASH. Relevant sections of the AssetPlus assessment can be attached to the referral form.

Referrals to YOS can only be made by the Police and courts with the exception of the YOS Prevention Workers, which are embedded within District Early Help Teams. Where there are concerns about anti-social or offending behaviour but the young person has not been convicted of any offences, Children’s Social Care staff can access the YOS Prevention Workers using an Early Help Assessment and following the agreed referral process.


3. The Police Station

When a parent/carer is not able to attend the Police Station to support their child during an interview, the Police will contact the Appropriate Adult Service.

At times it will not be possible for the young person to return home from the Police Station:

  • The young person is to be released on bail but cannot return home because the Police deem it unsafe. The Police will contact Children’s Social Care through the Contact Centre or Emergency Duty Team. Children’s Social Care will attempt to secure a family placement where appropriate. Only in circumstances where this is not possible a local authority placement will be sought. This will require approval from the relevant Head of Service;
  • The young person is charged with an offence and is required to appear in court the following day. Where possible, young people should not be kept in the Police Station overnight. The Police will contact Children’s Social Care through the Contact Centre or Emergency Duty Team to request access to the PACE bed. Where this is considered suitable, the Police will transport the young person to the PACE bed, where they must remain until the next available court.


4. Court

YOS staff will manage the court process for Cambridgeshire courts and ensure relevant Children’s Social Care staff are involved in discussions as appropriate relating to bail, remand or sentencing issues. They will also liaise with other YOTs if young people appear in court in other areas. Where a young person is a looked after child, Children’s Social Care are responsible for arranging transport for the young person to planned court hearings. In these cases, the court expects a responsible social worker to be present.


5. Remands of Children Otherwise than on Bail

When a court case is to be adjourned and the court considers there are substantial grounds for believing that the young person may fail to surrender to custody; commit an offence on bail; interfere with witnesses; or obstruct the course of justice; and that bail conditions cannot be imposed to satisfy their concerns, the court will consider remanding the young person to local authority accommodation or youth detention accommodation. Such cases are governed by the application of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. In these cases the YOS court duty officer will initiate contact with Children’s Social Care as early as possible so that placements can be identified if required. For cases open to Children’s Social Care, the YOS officer will liaise directly with the relevant unit or team. For other young people, a referral will be made through the Contact Centre.

  • Remand to Local Authority Accommodation (RLAA). In these cases the young person is released from court but required to live as directed by the local authority. Children’s Social Care will identify an appropriate placement and arrange transport for the young person. The court can also impose any requirements equivalent to bail conditions. The young person becomes a looked after child and LAC processes are commenced. If appropriate, a social worker will undertake a full assessment of the placement under schedule 3 or 4 of the Care Planning Regulations 2010. YOS will allocate a worker who will continue to liaise with the young person and social worker throughout the court process. RLAA status ends when the young person is sentenced if not before;
  • Remand to Youth Detention Accommodation (RYDA). In these cases the young person is kept in custody and placed in secure accommodation by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) at a Secure Children’s Home, Secure Training Centre or Young Offenders Institution. Secure transport is arranged by the YJB. The young person becomes a looked after child and LAC processes are commenced. In addition, an Initial Remand Review Meeting is arranged at the secure placement within 10 working days, to which YOS, Children’s Social Care and the young person’s parents are invited. The YOS worker and social worker jointly complete a Remand Detention Placement Plan, which replaces the Care Plan for the period of remand. RYDA status ends when the young person is sentenced if not before.


6. Custodial Sentences

YOS will manage the custodial processes and ensure Children’s Social Care staff are kept informed about the young person’s progress in custody and are invited to planning meetings. YOS will visit the young person in line with National Standards and be responsible for planning licence supervision and support focusing on offending behaviour on release. The following arrangements apply for particular groups of young people:

  • Looked After Children (full or interim care order): The case remains open to Children’s Social Care and both services are jointly responsible for contributing to the sentence planning and LAC Review processes. The allocated social worker is responsible for identifying an appropriate placement for the young person at least 4 weeks prior to the release date, in consultation with the Access to Resources team. A custodial period should always be considered a continuation of care and young people may become eligible for aftercare services while in custody.
  • Looked After Children (voluntarily accommodated): When sentenced to custody, the young person ceases to be accommodated but is likely to remain open to Children’s Social Care as a Child In Need. The allocated social worker is responsible for identifying an appropriate placement for the young person at least 4 weeks prior to the release date, in consultation with the Access to Resources team. An application to the Threshold and Resources Panel will be required.
  • Care Leavers: Where an Eligible Child or Relevant Child is sentenced to custody, the case remains open to Children’s Social Care, who remain jointly responsible for identifying services for release.


7. Local Authority Residence Requirement

The Youth Rehabilitation Order is a disposal available to the court in many cases. Various requirements can be attached to this order in order to prevent further offending. One of these is the Local Authority Residence Requirement. This can be imposed where the YOS assessment indicates that the young person’s living arrangements have significantly contributed to their offending behaviour. The court can stipulate the young person is not placed with a named person and instead is accommodated by the local authority for up to 6 months.

In these cases the YOS Pre-Sentence Report author will liaise with Children’s Social Care staff and (where possible) the young person’s parents about the suitability of the requirement.

If the requirement is made, Children’s Social Care will identify an appropriate placement and arrange transport for the young person. The young person becomes a looked after child and all LAC processes including parental consent, medical, reviews, etc must be followed.

End