Management of high risk children and young people (youth justice) — Policy
Updated: 01 April 2017
What's Important To Us
Each child and young person who offends and is referred to us presents with specific risks to themselves and their community, including their victims. These risks are addressed through proactive engagement that mitigates this risk and increases the likelihood that the intervention being provided is successfully completed. Intensive supervision is individualised, high level support and oversight for high risk children and young people. It draws on the skills of the practitioner to plan for, engage with, and motivate the child or young person.
Intensive case management and supervision with clear timeframes and responsibilities for key operational staff will support families/whānau to manage their children and young people in residences or in the community. This approach also assists in mitigating risks to these children and young people, their victims, and the community. In order to ensure consistency and best practice, the High Risk Register must be used in all cases and not altered or amended in any way.
This policy provides guidelines to identify who are the high risk children and young people. It describes intensive case management and supervision proceedures and key responsibilities.
What makes children and young people high risk?
A child or young person is considered high risk if they:
- have a high risk of re-offending
- have a high risk of poor life outcomes because of their offending behaviour
- pose a high risk to the community because of their offending.
Who are the high risk children and young people?
This policy relates to those children and young people with one or more of the following criteria, irrespective of where they are living:
- children subject to s247(a) referral for family group conference because of their offending behaviour as defined under s14(1)(e)
- children and young people who have offended, who have suicidal concerns and are currently involved with the Towards Wellbeing (TWB) programme.
- children and young people who have been referred to youth justice and who have a care and protection custody status in favour of the chief executive
- children and young people who have been referred to youth justice and whose offending is of a sexual nature or who have harmful or concerning sexual behaviours
- in the custody of the chief executive subject to Youth Court remand under s238(1)(d). (please note that some young people will be in community placements and in the custody of an iwi or cultural social service)
- subject to a Supervision Order under s283(k) (including under the supervision of a specified person or organisation other than the chief executive)
- subject to a Supervision with Activity Order under s283(m), including day, wrap-around and residential programmes
- subject to a Supervision with Residence Order under s283(n)
- subject to an Intensive Supervision Order under s296G
- in the custody or care of the chief executive on behalf of Corrections under s173 and s175 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.
These high risk statuses set the bar and are the entry point for being on the High Risk Register. Only one risk is to be tagged and that will be the one that is most significant for the child or young person. Any associated risks can be noted in the column 'Other relevant information'. The risks and the actions to address them will be detailed in the child or young person's plan.
The High Risk Register
The High Risk Register must be maintained at site level so that it is available to all social workers, supervisors, practice leaders, and the youth justice manager.
The High Risk Register must include:
- the names and legal statuses in the identified categories
- an indication under the Current Risk Status that the case is ‘on track’ or that ‘action is required’
- the date of last contact with the child or young person
- notes against the child or young person’s name indicating where actions being taken to manage the risk if required.
To ensure continuity of reporting for high risk children and young people who have offended, the High Risk Register (active) (Excel 30KB) and High Risk Register (inactive) (Excel 16KB) must be used at all times and must not be altered in any way.
Planning and monitoring
Social workers will develop an appropriate plan for each child and young person identified as high risk. Each plan will have clear goals and hold the child or young person accountable for their actions and behaviour. There will be achievable strategies to manage any risks to the child or young person and their community, including their victims. Each plan will include the intended outcomes and associated timeframes.
Children and young people must be encouraged and assisted to participate and freely express their views during the planning process and during any reviews. Views expressed by the child or young person must be taken into account.
All plans will be discussed with and signed off by a youth justice supervisor. Social workers will report weekly to a youth justice supervisor that the plan is "on track" or "action required" with accompanying explanatory notes.
A social worker (or in limited circumstances a nominated person as agreed at the family group conference) must engage with the child or young person face to face every week. This meeting must be recorded in CYRAS.
If a child or young person is on remand or awaiting a family group conference, a plan can be developed at the pre-family group conference case consultation to ensure that the child or young person is carefully monitored in the interim.
If the child or young person is in a residence or a provider run placement outside of the social worker’s geographical area the social worker must have video or telephone contact on a weekly basis. Face to face visits by the social worker will be arranged on an “as needed” basis and in line with the Caring for Children policy.
On completing a Supervision with Residence Order the child or young person will be visited by the social worker as soon as practicable but within 24 hours after release.
All children and young people with whom we are working must have a plan. For those identified as high risk, the plan must include the following extra factors as outlined in the table in the next section.
The plan must be signed off by a supervisor.
Minimum standards and processes for monitoring high risk children and young people
The plan must detail:
Monitoring: minimum requirements
Child who has offended (s14(1)(e))
- where the child or young person is residing
- who will have the day to day care of the young person
- what actions will take place based on the assessed needs, strengths and risks of the child or young person, along with the intended outcomes and associated timeframes
- agreed behaviours/conditions that will require escalation to the social worker
- a schedule of visits and contacts (e.g. phone) from the social worker
- any other factors agreed by the social worker and their supervisor required to implement the plan
As per the monitoring table below or
- the Court ordered plan specifies something different
- there is a recorded reason agreed by the youth justice manager to the variation
- agreed alternatives may be contact by phone in remote areas, visit to the local police station by the young person
- visit by an agreed other person
Weekly review by the youth justice manager that:
- tracks compliance of each child or young person to their plan
- assesses current risk
- makes decisions on applications for cancellation, variation or escalation
- escalates risks or issues as appropriate to the YJ regional manager
Towards Wellbeing involvement
Care and protection status
Sexual offending or harmful sexual behaviour
S238(1)(d) – remand in custody (not in a youth justice residence)
S283(k) – Supervision Order
S296G – Intensive Supervision Order
S283(m) – Supervision with Activity (day or wrap-around programme)
s283(m) Supervision with Activity (residential placement)
Provider plan to cover above
Weekly checking with the provider by social worker on the young person’s progress
s238(1)(d) in the custody of an iwi or cultural social service
Managed by approved person, organisation or social service 24/7. Agreed schedule of visits and contacts (e.g. phone) from the social worker as required and appropriate
S283(k) – Supervision Order under the supervision of a specified person or organisation other than the Chief Executive
s238(1)(d) - remand in custody (in a residence)
Managed by residential staff 24/7 supervision in place
S283(n) Supervision with Residence
s142(4B) and s142A - Criminal Justice Act 1985
The reporting and home visits have been divided into three levels of monitoring intensity - High, Medium and Low. This will vary depending on the level of responsiveness by the children or young people to their plan and may change a number of times during our involvement with them. The allocated social worker will reassess the monitoring levels for a child or young person and any changes in those levels in consultation with the supervisor who will sign off any changes to the levels. These decisions would be based on professional judgment and the child or young person's adherence to their plan and general behaviour and demeanour.
Monitoring Table (NB: these are the minimum requirements):
Level of Monitoring
Face to Face Visit Frequency
Weekly plus one other form of contact (e.g. phone call)
Consideration of victims in the plan
The plan must note and make provision for any concerns related to victim(s) of the child or young person’s offences including:
- concerns about the placement of children or young people who have offended in proximity to the victim
- potential retaliation by the child or young person, their family/whānau members and/or friends
- potential re-victimisation of victims
- any agreement to notify victims of activities related to the child or young person’s family group conference plan or Court order, (e.g. release from residence date) and how these will be managed including any intended communications with the victim about managing the concerns.
Formal review of the High Risk Register
The youth justice manager and youth justice supervisor will meet weekly to formally review the High Risk Register. The purpose of the formal review is to ensure that the Register is current and in order, to discuss any problematic cases and to ensure that any risks are being managed appropriately.
The supervisor will bring any relevant information about each child or young person on the Register to the meeting.
Individual social workers may be requested to attend the formal review if there are any concerns about any high risk child or young person on his or her caseload.
Consideration will be given to the attendance of practice leaders at the weekly review meeting to support the management of complex cases.
Exit from the High Risk Register
A child or young person will only be removed from the High Risk Register when the reason for them being considered high risk no longer applies. In many cases this will require a child or young person to remain on the Register until the successful conclusion of their youth justice involvement or order although their level of monitoring will reduce over time. For example a young person on a supervision order will remain on the Register for the entire length of the order, or a young person remanded on s238(1)(d) will be considered high risk until the remand is ended or changed to something less restrictive.
It should be noted that the high risk status remains while the child or young person meets any of the criteria in this policy. It does not depend on the intensity of monitoring as it is important to be able to identify and track all those children and young people at every stage of our intervention with them.
A supervisor will sign off the exit from the Register based on the final review of each case.
When any situation arises where there is a clearly identified immediate risk (e.g. the child or young person is missing) the social worker must escalate this to a supervisor or, if they are not available, to the youth justice manager who will take appropriate action to manage the situation and address the safety of the child or young person and their families/whānau and communities.
What are my responsibilities?
- completes or reviews the Tuituia assessment as and when required for each high risk child or young person on his or her caseload and records the information on CYRAS
- develops and implements a plan to build on the identified strengths and needs for each high risk child or young person on their case load. The plan will include specified interventions and actions with the intended outcomes and associated timeframes
- assesses the level of monitoring required for any child or young person on their caseload and confirms any changes in the level of intensity with the supervisor who will sign off the change
- confirms and signs-off on a weekly basis that their high risk cases are “on track”
- confirms there is a mitigation plan in place if the plan is not “on track” and there is “action required”. The “action required” should also be SMART and case-noted on CYRAS
- encourages and assists the child or young person to participate in planning and review of plans
- provides reasonable opportunities for the child or young person to freely express their views and supports them to do so as required.
- takes the child or young person’s view into account.
- maintains and verifies the High Risk Register for their respective team
- signs off the Tuituia report, plan and changes to monitoring intensity for each child or young person (within their team) on the High Risk Register immediately raises and addresses with the social worker any concerns they may have about any child or young person on the Register
- ensures that another social worker has responsibility for case monitoring when a social worker is away for more than a week
- meets with the youth justice manager on a weekly basis to formally review and sign off the High Risk Register as current and complete and that risks are being mitigated as required
- ensures that the child or young person’s participation and expression of views are encouraged and supported.
Youth justice regional manager:
- meets with the youth justice supervisor on a weekly basis to formally review and sign off the High Risk Register as current and that risks are being mitigated as required
- forwards the signed-off Register to their YJ regional manager for their review
- will periodically audit the quality of the assessment and plan completed for high risk children and young people
- will periodically audit the supervision files of social workers who have high risk children and young people on their caseloads.
Youth Justice regional manager:
- reviews the High Risk Registers as part of their regular risk assurance monitoring and include any relevant advice in their monthly report to their regional director
- immediately raises with the relevant manager any concerns they may have about any child or young person on the Register.