By Grace Strong, Acting Head of Partnerships and Supply Chain, Reducing Reoffending Partnership
On 1 November SWM and DLNR CRCs held the first joint Young Adults Conference. It was the first time Young Adult semi-specialists case managers, champions from intervention teams and lead PDMs, came together as our new Young Adults Community of Practice.
The purpose of the day was to share some of the evidence underpinning the need for a young adult approach, to hear about the CRCs’ young adult strategy, including the new young adult interventions, and to start to considering how we can collectively tailor our approach and services to the specific needs of our young adult service users. The conference was timely as the Justice Select Committee had just published their report on the Treatment of Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System and their recommendations are consistent with the CRCs’ plans.
Delegates heard from Dr Nathan Hughes, Birmingham University, who outlined the evidence as to why services should be tailored to young adults. This included an overview of the maturity research and the higher prevalence of neuro-developmental disorders amongst the offending population and how this affects both engagement and rehabilitation.
Later, an independent consultant shared both his personal experiences of being a young adult in the Criminal Justice System and the experiences of those he has engaged with in various national and local projects. He highlighted how the small things often make a big difference when working with young adults. In the afternoon, Grace Strong outlined the CRCs’ Young Adult Strategy and Louise Granger from the EngAge project shared her team’s learning, having offered a specialist service to young adults over the last 18 months.
It was clear from table discussion and feedback that there is already a huge amount of experience and good practice relating to young adults. Alongside discussion about the many challenges, there was also clear enthusiasm and commitment to implementing the new strategy. We’ll be ensuring that the Young Adults community of practice are empowered and equipped to convert this enthusiasm into practical changes at a local level over the forthcoming months