Headlines: June 30th, 2010

Children and young people who misuse alcohol are left without the appropriate help at times because of inconsistencies in the services designed to help them, according to a report today. The report from independent inspectors says Youth Offending Teams have made good progress in identifying and addressing alcohol misuse but further improvements need to be made.

The joint report from HM Inspectorate of Probation, the Care Quality Commission and Healthcare and Inspectorates in Wales, looks at whether youth offending and health services are sufficiently engaged and involved in efforts to reduce the impact of alcohol misuse by children and young people who offend. It underlines the known link between alcohol misuse and health problems, underachievement in school and offending behaviour.

It finds that YOTs are sufficiently aware of this link and that they offer significant and effective health resources where misuse is seen to relate directly to offending. But, it adds, too many inconsistencies were found in the quality of assessments across England and Wales.

The inspectors are calling for all children and young people who come into contact with YOTs to receive a nationally validated health assessment to ensure the appropriate interventions are offered. They also recommend greater engagement with parents and for substance misuse issues, including alcohol, to be reported and adequately considered at YOT board management level.