Transitions are a time of insecurity, disorientation and stress, and leaving care can be equally as difficult as entering (Duncalf, 2010; Scottish Government, 2011). Gough (2016, p.19) “found that for too many young people, the preparation and support they receive as they move on from the secure care setting is disproportionate to the secure care placement, i.e. inadequate”. However, “the amount and availability of support networks that each young person has is integral to their successful exit from secure care or custody” (Scottish Government, 2011, p.19).
Planning for a young person’s exit from secure care and reintegration to their community should start at the point of remand/sentence and must include young people and their families. Such preparation and inclusion is vital to successful transitions (Gough, 2016).
Secure unit staff and the wider support team are responsible for preparing the young person for successful transition as set out in the Child's Plan.
If there are no management concerns or outstanding charges, a mobility plan will be agreed with the Children and Young Person’s (CYP) Placement Manager (only involved if the young person is sentenced under section 205(2) or section 208 Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995), unit staff, Lead Professional and the young person. The plan will consist of:
- Time out-with the secure unit
- How associated risks will be managed and the level of staff supervision required
- Visits to the family home/local area if appropriate
Prior to mobility a transition risk assessment and risk management plan will assess whether the young person can commence with mobility, identify any concerns and detail how these will be managed.
Young people may be released from secure care on their:
- Earliest date of liberation (EDL): automatic release date
- Parole qualifying date (PQD): becomes live if the Parole Board Scotland has deemed the person appropriate for release into the community
It is the responsibility of the Lead Professional to ensure post-release community supports as detailed in the Child’s Plan are in place (Scottish Government, 2011).
The National Standards for Youth Justice Provision in Scotland (Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice, 2013) recommend all young people have a throughcare or aftercare plan for at least three months from departure from secure accommodation to support them as a “child in need” under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. This should be detailed in the Child’s Plan and reviewed after three months. Research by Nolan (2015) found 77% of responding Scottish local authorities advised this was always the case.
Research (see resources below) indicates that post-release plans and supports must be:
- Child-centred and fully involve the young person in the development of such plans
- Available and accessible in a timely manner
- Responsive to changes in need and risk
- Coordinated with effective partnership working and involve the whole team around the child
- Build on supports provided prior to and during detention to promote continuity
- Holistic (meeting practical, social, emotional, welfare and criminogenic needs)
- Individualised, including recognising gender differences
Plans must also pay particular attention to:
- Family relationships and support
- Employment and training
- Health and mental health
- Substance misuse
Resources for this page
- Beyond Youth Custody
- Children (Scotland) Act 1995
- Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011
- Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
- Bateman, T., Hazel, N., and Wright, S. (2013). Resettlement of young people leaving custody: lessons from the literature. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Bateman, T. and Hazel, N. (2014). Resettlement of girls and young women: research report. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ). (2013). National Standards for Youth Justice Provision in Scotland (Appendix 1 to Youth Justice in Scotland: a guide to policy, practice and legislation). Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ). (2016). A Guide to Youth Justice in Scotland: Reintegration and Transitions: Youth justice practice at the interface of the Children's Hearings System and the Criminal Justice System. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Duncalf, Z. (2010). Listen Up! Adult care leavers speak out: the views of 310 care leavers aged 17–78. Glasgow: University of Strathclyde.
- Gough, A. (2016). Secure Care in Scotland: Looking Ahead. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Malloch, M. (2013). The Elements of Effective Through-Care Part 2: Scottish Review. Glasgow: SCCJR.
- Nolan, D. (2016). Youth Justice: A Study of Local Authority Reintegration and Transitions Practice Across Scotland. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Scottish Government. (2011). Reintegration and Transitions – Guidance for Local Authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and Service Providers. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Wright, D. and Factor, F. (2014). Resettlement of girls and young women: a practitioner’s guide. London: Beyond Youth Custody.