Restorative justice

Restorative approaches in children’s residential homes

Bridgend Youth Justice Service Performance Framework Data evidenced that children and young people who are care experienced are overrepresented within Bridgend Youth Justice Service (BYJS).  As a result of this finding, the BYJS restorative team met with the managers of the two local authority residential homes within the borough to discuss how this issue could be tackled .

The managers felt that links with the police could be strengthened so that officers could work proactively with the children in an informal way.  They also felt that there was a training need for residential staff in the use of restorative approaches as a response to incidents within the home.

To address these concerns, BYJS arranged a visit to both homes with the BYJS police officer to establish a relationship between care home management and staff and the police.  The BYJS police officer encouraged management at the home to call her with any concerns that they have and has committed to linking in with the homes whenever needed.  Since this initial meeting the BYJS police officer has been called to visit the homes on several occasions to speak with young people.

With regards to addressing the training gap in restorative approaches, BYJS has proposed the following which has been discussed with and accepted by care home management:

  1. In order to raise awareness of restorative ways of working, in line with the All Wales Protocol for Reducing the criminalisation of care experienced children and young adults, and to raise awareness of informal restorative responses to incidents the BYJS rolled out training to residential staff. More information about this training can be found below.
  2. Where there has been an incident in the home where management feel that it would be beneficial for an external agency to facilitate a restorative conference, then they can refer to the Youth Justice Service for a trained member of staff to complete that work. The BYJS has commissioned Restorative Conference Facilitation training for BYJS staff to increase capacity in meeting any increase in demand following this offer.
  3. A longer-term ambition is for BYJS to become an accredited training provider so that we can provide training to residential staff to give them the skills and confidence to facilitate restorative interventions within the home.