Children with learning disabilities and other impairments including mental ill health are more likely to go to prison than other young people because the youth justice system is failing to recognise their needs, according to a major survey major survey of youth offending team (YOT) staff in England and Wales.
‘Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in the youth justice system’, published by the Prison Reform Trust and the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers, says youth justice agencies are not fulfilling their legal duty to prevent discrimination. It argues more should be done to identify and help children with learning disabilities and other impairments as part of the coalition government’s plans to “radically” overhaul youth justice.
Jenny Talbot, author of the report, said: “Children with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other impairments make up the majority of people in the youth justice system. Often they have passed through the education system with those needs unrecognised. We must ensure schools and other children’s services are properly equipped to identify and help these children – before they come into contact with the youth justice system.”
For more on the report please visit: http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/standard.asp?id=2367
To visit Hafal’s website for children and young people with mental ill health please visit: http://www.hafal.org/hafal/yp_index.php