Congratulations to Blackburn with Darwen Area Partnership for attaining Youth Justice SEND Quality Lead Status with a Child First Commendation
Blackburn with Darwen Area Partnership was one of the first to attain the coveted Youth Justice SEND Quality Lead award back in 2018. Even then, there was a tangible “child first” approach to meeting the needs of children suffering from multiple disadvantages and displaying complex needs as a consequence. It is clear that the vision of the service has maintained and developed its focus towards supporting children and young people with SEND, evidenced through policy, practice and provision that has moved forward significantly in the intervening years.
Teams around the child work together, co-ordinated through forums such as MARM (Multi-Agency Risk Management) meetings and the Transforming Lives Panel. Attended by a variety of agencies and services, including the local police, health, social, Early Help and YOS YJS, there is a streamlining of response: “Who is best placed to support this child?”. Additional assessments (such as forensic CAHMS) and screening, when deemed necessary, are commissioned in days rather than weeks or months. There is excellent data sharing at all stages, enabling an evidence-based picture of complex needs to be quickly built, driving solution-focussed resolutions that are actioned by committed and experienced professional teams.
The outstanding preventative work has driven down first-time offending rates to levels substantially lower than regional, statistical neighbours and national rates, which is a considerable achievement.
Outstanding Child First practice continues when children enter youth justice pathways: EHCPs are well managed in and out of custody; if additional needs are unmet, provision is secured. Resettlement and positive ETE (Education Training and Employment) pathways are negotiated and supported fully by the New Directions team (first acknowledged with a CYPN Now Award in 2016) who work assiduously on behalf of the child with Colleges, Training Providers, Community Centres, Employers and the Third Sector to secure a positive outcome.
Above all, within Blackburn with Darwen, it is the quality of relationships that is particularly noteworthy, flourishing in a spirit of mutual trust and common resolve: relationships between professionals and the children in their care; relationships between statutory services; relationships with ETE providers who are risk aware but not risk averse.
Blackburn with Darwen are fully deserving of YJ SEND Quality Lead Redesignation with Child First Commendation.