Young Adults and Care Leavers

In order to improve outcomes and reduce offending for care leavers this workstream aims to bring together key agencies to improve the identification and recording of young adults and care leavers at all stages of the Criminal Justice System, increase the collective understanding of this group, and identify provision for appropriate interventions and support.

Research shows a disproportionate number of care leavers in the Criminal Justice System. This overrepresentation demonstrates a need to develop innovative and collaborative approaches to understand and address why there is such disproportionate representation in this group.

It is known that many care leavers have experienced a range of difficulties that place them at higher risk of offending and it is recognised that the transition into adulthood for many young people leaving care is often compressed and accelerated, placing them at increased vulnerability, which in turn can lead to a range of negative outcomes. 

This project will ensure that all staff in the Criminal Justice System who work with young adults and care leavers are fully equipped with appropriate skills and qualities to work effectively with these groups in an informed way.

The priorities of this work are:

  • Improve identification & recording of young adults & care leavers at all stages of the CJS
  • Increase our collective understanding of this group through research and the analysis of our shared data
  • Ensure that young adults & care leavers in CJS are provided with the opportunity to safely share their experiences of being in care
  • Identify structured interventions and wraparound services for young adults & care leavers in the CJS
  • Ensure young adults and care leavers are provided with additional support and structure during the transition from youth to adult services and prison to community
  • Evaluate approaches to understand what interventions work

Progress to date:

  • Transition protocol for young adults transferring from youth to adult criminal justice services is well embedded in Wales
  • Early intervention and prevention schemes for those aged 18-25 operating successfully across Wales
  • Pilot underway in Cardiff & Vale providing a bespoke model for 18-25 years olds subject to Community Orders, which includes practitioner training on cohort risk/needs/responsivity and an 8-session service user intervention
  • Care Leavers Champions in place. Virtual training package to be developed for Champions to augment the Working with Care Experienced Service Users guidance
  • All Wales Protocol developed jointly between Welsh Government and HMPPS to help reduce the criminalisation of care experienced young people is to be implemented in 2021/22