Headlines: July 24th, 2009

Councils are being urged to expand their family intervention projects and crack down on out-of-control families. In the first year of the Youth Crime Action Plan more than 2000 families received support. Engaging with parents to help them prevent their children getting involved in anti-social behaviour, crime and violence is seen as an effective way to turn behaviour around.

Funding is available to target families where young people are at risk of offending, but all councils are not taking full advantage. There can be direct benefits to councils carrying out family intervention projects because some families cost their local community up to £250,000 each year in Police and court time or eviction and rehousing.

Changes are to be made in the way front line practitioners work with parents, so they don’t take no for an answer when a parent refuses support. This will help to ensure parents take proper responsibility for the poor behaviour of their children, including making sure that there is an assessment of parental need for all children being considered for an ASBO.

Other changes to the youth Crime Action Plan include plans for turning around Youth Offending Teams where there are serious concerns. The teams play a crucial role in preventing and tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour in their areas and the proposed changes to the law would give the Government powers to intervene if an inspection finds serious problems.

In addition, council leaders are being asked to make significant changes to the teams such as removing staff from post if necessary, imposing targets requiring the team to improve and sending in a team of youth justice experts to help improve practice.