More than 100 children and young people in Wolverhampton who are at risk of entering the criminal justice system will be given support to help turn around their lives.

Wolverhampton's Youth Offending Team is taking part in the Turnaround youth early intervention programme led by the Ministry of Justice. It aims to improve outcomes for children and young people who do not currently meet the threshold for statutory support but who may still be at risk of youth offending.

Although there is no single path which leads to youth crime, certain vulnerabilities are linked to an increased likelihood of being involved in offending behaviour, including mental health concerns, substance misuse, living in an unstable family setting or being in care, being a victim of crime or abuse, school absenteeism or having undiagnosed educational needs. 

Children and young people in this cohort are likely to have a mixture of complex needs and so Turnaround is flexible – enabling Youth Offending Teams to design interventions that work for each youngster individually.

People referred to the programme will be given an in-depth holistic assessment of their needs, and receive bespoke support from the Youth Offending Team and other agencies or partners as appropriate.

Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "We are delighted that our Youth Offending Team is part of the Ministry of Justice's Turnaround programme.

“It will enable the team to work with partners and provide targeted wraparound support to dozens of children and young people who aren't yet at the threshold for statutory support but who, without early intervention, could end up going down a path of criminality.

"We know that around 80% of prolific adult offenders begin committing crimes as children, and the earlier they can be given the help and support they need to avoid this from happening, the better.

"Turnaround will support young people displaying warning signs such as poor school attendance, trouble at home or a history of substance abuse, all of which are known to be factors which can drive young people into crime, and help to steer them away from law breaking before an offence is even committed.

“It uses a model has proven to be a success with similar early intervention programmes such as Supporting Families, which the council has also been involved with and which led to a 38% reduction in youth custodial sentences among this cohort."

Wolverhampton's Youth Offending Team, comprising staff from health, social care and education services, the police and the National Probation Service, works with 10 to 17 year olds involved in the criminal justice system and is rated Good by HM Inspectorate of Probation.