All children and young people in the youth justice system are vulnerable by virtue of their age and developmental immaturity. High numbers of children and young people who come to the attention of youth justice services also have complex support needs, low levels of educational attainment and more untreated health issues than their peers. Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are often undiagnosed, with many in this vulnerable group not receiving the support they need to achieve positive change.

Our Youth Justice SEND project supports young offending teams, the youth secure estate and local authorities in effectively identifying and meeting young offenders’ special educational needs and disabilities, working towards more effective engagement and more positive long term outcomes.

Since April 2016 we have:

  • Run workshops around the country, training over 300 professionals who work with young people within the youth justice system, spanning 80 Local Authorities
  • Developed and launched a free online learning resource, The Youth Justice SEND Bubble
  • Surveyed current practice around young people with SEND who are part of the youth justice system, gaining input from 86 youth offending teams, and covering at least 92 Local Authority areas
  • Worked with over 50 area partnerships spanning 56 Local Authorities to benchmark practice against quality standards, and reward progress with Quality Mark and Quality Lead certificates
  • The Youth Justice SEND Programme is funded by the Department for Education and builds collaboratively upon the pioneering work of both the Council for Disabled Children and Sheffield Futures as part of their DfE funded work in 2015-16 to support children and young people with SEND in custody.

Youth Justice SEND Resources

Get more involved with the Youth Justice SEND project by viewing our online resources:

The Youth Justice SEND Bubble – our free online resource portal

The Youth Justice SEND Project Resource Hub

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive the latest Youth Justice SEND news, as well as information on research, training and opportunities. 


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