Budget cuts 'jeopardise children's rehabilitation' in Walsall
Written by The Newsroom on June 27, 2019
Budget cuts are jeopardising the rehabilitation of young offenders in the West Midlands, inspectors say.
Walsall’s Youth Justice Service has been rated as requiring improvement by HM Inspectorate of Probation.
A second year of cuts to the service with the lowest budget in the region was “affecting the quality of work with troubled children”, inspectors said.
Dudley Youth Offending Service also requires improvement and has been too slow in improving education provision.
The Ministry of Justice has been contacted to comment.
Justin Russell, chief inspector of probation, said a “high number of young people” known to the service were “not in education or training, and children are offending at times when they should be in school”.
“Some staff have resorted to teaching children who have been excluded because there are no suitable alternatives,” he said.
In Walsall, facilities like youth centres had reduced in number, the report said.
Mr Russell said: “Walsall Youth Justice Service is attempting to minimise the impact of these savings but the effects are becoming clear to see.
“Key posts and facilities have been lost and the workforce has been operating at, and on occasions beyond, capacity.
“Work to identify and manage risk of harm to others and the protection of victims needs to improve, as it has lost focus and receives very little attention at strategic or operational level.”
Inspectors also found that too many children and young people receiving supervision were not in school, training or employment and progress to address this had been too slow.
Both services supervise children aged 10 to 18 who have a conviction or are being dealt with outside the courts for minor offences.
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