Making a Child First approach to youth justice a reality – new report

A new report examining the enablers, opportunities, barriers and challenges to implementing the 'Child First' approach to youth justice, has been released by Loughborough University.

Child First justice is the belief that children coming to the attention of the Youth Justice System (YJS) are seen as ‘children’ rather than as ‘offenders’. It focuses on prevention, diversion and minimal intervention to reduce the stigmatising effects of system contact.

The Child First principle has been guided by a longstanding body of research by the University’s Professor Stephen Case, an expert in criminology from the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, with key colleagues nationally and a close working relationship with the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, Youth Offending Teams and children in the YJS.

In this latest report – The Child First Strategy Implementation Project: Realising the guiding principle for youth justice – Professor Case, along with Research Associate Ann Browning, looks at the barriers to implementing a Child First approach to youth justice, and the support needed to make Child First a reality.

Speaking about the report, Professor Case said: “Child First is the guiding principle and central strategic objective for youth justice in England and Wales. However, frontline practitioners desperately need support and guidance to implement the strategy on the ground. This research report provides that - consulting with professionals to produce a series of practical recommendations that will improve the way that the system responds to children who offend.”

The full report can be viewed here. For further information about Loughborough’s research on the Child First approach, and previous reports, click here.