Quality statement 3: Assessment of children and young people in contact with youth offending services

Quality statement

Children and young people having a young offender assessment are assessed for vulnerability to drug misuse.

Rationale

Children and young people who are in contact with youth offending services are at increased risk of drug misuse. Youth offending teams can use young offender assessments to assess vulnerability. This provides an opportunity to give early targeted support, which can reduce the likelihood of drug misuse.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements for the use of an agreed brief and valid questionnaire to assess children and young people's vulnerability to drug misuse at young offender assessments.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, from service specifications.

b) Evidence of local arrangements for staff to be trained in how to assess children and young people's vulnerability to drug misuse.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, from service specifications.

Process

Proportion of young offender assessments which include an assessment of vulnerability to drug misuse.

Numerator – the number in the denominator which include an assessment of vulnerability to drug misuse.

Denominator – the number of young offender assessments.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, audit of records.

Outcome

a) Number of children and young people in contact with youth offending services who misuse drugs.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Proportion of children and young people who are in contact with youth offending services, misusing drugs, who access support for drug misuse.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (youth offending teams) ensure that staff use a consistent, locally agreed brief and valid questionnaire, such as CRAFFT, to assess children and young people for vulnerability to drug misuse at young offender assessments. Staff are also provided with guidance and training from specialist services so that they know the indicators of drug use, how to approach the assessment with sensitivity, how to use brief questionnaires accurately and how to respond to identified needs.

Youth offending team workers and managers use a consistent, locally agreed brief and valid questionnaire, such as CRAFFT, to assess children and young people who are having a young offender assessment for vulnerability to drug misuse. They use an approach that is respectful, non-judgemental and proportionate to the young person's presenting vulnerabilities, and consider whether any further action is needed.

Commissioners (local authorities, Youth Justice Board) ensure that they commission services in which children and young people who are having a young offender assessment or review have an assessment of vulnerability to drug misuse.

Children and young people children who are having a young offender assessment with a youth offending team are asked brief questions to assess whether they are vulnerable to drug misuse. This is so that their needs can identified and responded to.

Source guidance

Drug misuse prevention: targeted interventions (2017) NICE guideline NG64, recommendation 1.2.1

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Assessment of vulnerability to drug misuse

An assessment that is respectful, non-judgemental and proportionate to the young person's presenting vulnerabilities that uses a consistent, locally agreed, brief and valid questionnaire, such as CRAFFT. The child or young person's circumstances should be discussed, taking account of their age and developmental stage. The initial discussion could include:

  • their physical and mental health and their personal, social, educational or employment circumstances (which may trigger a more in-depth assessment)

  • any drug use (including the type used and how often and relationship between their offending and drug use).

[Adapted from NICE's guideline on drug misuse prevention, recommendations 1.2.2 and 1.2.3, and College Centre for Quality Improvement's Practice standards for young people with substance misuse problems]

Young offender assessment

The young offender assessment process is designed to find out the risk and protective factors playing a part in a young person's offending. 'AssetPlus' is the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales's comprehensive end-to-end assessment and planning framework approved by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

[Assess young offenders: section 4 case management guidance, Youth Justice Board]