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Specialist Youth Justice degree for all officers working with children

Tuesday June 2nd, 2020

Prison officers are being taught specialist skills to support their vital work with children who are in custody having committed serious offences.Law and Justice

The £4.9 million scheme will see each officer working in youth custody become a Youth Justice Specialist after completing degree-level training.

This gives officers a greater understanding of child and adolescent development and is helping them to tailor their approach to each child’s needs.

Specialist insight means officers are providing better support and giving children more chance of changing their lives for the better.

The Youth Custody Service was recently praised by HM Inspectorate of Prisons for adapting to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements. Young Offender Institutes were found to have responded swiftly to contain the spread of the virus and keep children and staff safe.

Officers who have qualified as specialists have used their training to support children in custody in these challenging circumstances.

The Foundation Degree in Youth Justice which underpins the specialist role is delivered by Unitas and accredited by the University of Suffolk.

Officers must complete the first two modules to qualify, covering: understanding the needs of children, child and adolescent development, safeguarding, risk of harm assessments and reoffending.

Staff can then decide whether to complete the remaining two modules of the foundation degree which cover: how to effectively engage with young people while addressing the underlying factors which contribute to offending, and resettlement from custody back into the community.

The Youth Custody Service has increased staffing by a third in 3 years, with 289 more frontline personnel than December 2016.

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