Partnership working between Together for Children’s Children Homes, Youth Offending Service and Northumbria Police was commended at this year’s national Howard League Awards that took place in London yesterday.
The awards are an annual celebration of the country’s most successful community projects encouraging desistance from crime.
The partnership’s win recognised the success of its Joint Agency Protocol, which has successfully reduced the criminalisation of young people in residential care. Praise was given to a sensitive and compassionate response to young people that recognised the impact of trauma.
Together for Children delivers children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council, which incorporates the youth offending service and four children’s homes that each care for up to six young people aged from 12 to 18.
The protocol is a collaboration with Northumbria Police and it has achieved excellent results with the amount of offending by children who have been looked after continuously for at least 12 months down from 16.1% in 2011/12 to 5.1% in 2017/18.
Sharon Willis, Strategic Service Manager at Together for Children, said: “This is great recognition for our collaboration. Children living in our homes may have suffered trauma resulting in complex needs. To have partners who understand the triggers and trauma behind presenting behaviours creates the opportunity for the repair of relationships and allows children to experience accountability and the process of “making things right” without unnecessary criminalisation."
Sunderland Youth Offending Service also advocate for restorative justice schemes whenever possible, which involve youths making reparation to victims and undertaking community work.
Jill Colbert, Chief Executive of Together for Children, said: “Our teams within youth offending and our children’s homes have worked collaboratively with Northumbria Police to ensure the success of this joint protocol, so this is great recognition of the work they do on a daily basis to support our young people and we are rightly proud of our staff.”
Inspector Donald Wade, Northumbria Police, said: “We are delighted that this crucial collaborative work has been recognised, and by working hand-in-hand with partners, we will continue to do all we can to protect young people and children in our region.”
To find out more about Together for Children please visit https://www.togetherforchildren.org.uk/