Congratulations to West Sussex Area Partnership for attaining Youth Justice SEND Quality Mark Status
West Sussex Area Partnership richly deserves the Youth Justice SEND Quality Award, demonstrating robust processes and relationships that have developed over time to identify children entering youth justice pathways with complex needs, and meeting those needs through effective multi-agency working.
The SENAT (Special Education Needs Assessment Team) and the YJS work together effectively, building on a historic single point of contact arrangement for custodial cases to now include protocols that reference “duty to cooperate” and data /information exchange. A further initiative of note is a learning and development pathway being established for all Children, Young People and Learning staff, building on ongoing training and professional development that will hope to have demonstrable impact on outcomes. Existing training programmes for all YJS staff include a comprehensive induction process, attachment and developmental trauma awareness, appreciation of the impact of social and structural disadvantage on risk and desistance factors, and an appreciation of the type and range of SEN that professionals are likely to encounter. Data sharing and transfer is robust and well-managed.
YJS workers are supported by a co-located CAMHS team, comprising of CAMHS practitioners and a forensic psychologist, and an Education and Employment Advisor. Recent investment in a second full time EEA role demonstrates the YJS commitment to meeting the needs of the vulnerable children they work with.
The preventative offer continues to grow. Teams around the child support the OOCD process effectively; a new MoJ “Turnaround” project, initiated in January 2023, is targeted at children on the edge of, or at risk of entering, youth justice pathways; there are strong links with the Fair Access Panel, the Dedicated Schools team within Early Help, the NIRFE Working Group (Not in Receipt of Full-time Education), and in a laudable systemic move, the vulnerability of the YJS cohort is now recognised and acknowledged within the West Sussex Education and Learning Strategy 2023-25.
Strategic Leadership is also working hard to secure dedicated within-service Speech and Language Therapy support, and, when achieved, will add significant capacity and impact to the Youth Justice Service. Furthermore, work “downstream” with schools is developing well: for example, 70 schools have received Therapeutic Thinking Training and there is a Violence Reduction Partnership funded Schools Inclusion project . There is no doubt the collective impact of this work will continue to drive down first-time offending rates.
West Sussex Area Partnership is well on its way to Quality Lead status.
Congratulations, and best of luck on your journey of sustained self-improvement.