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The findings from the YJAIS/AYTC: Kurlana Tapa Disability Screening Assessment Project support the need for the following future considerations in Youth Justice strategic and business planning:
- This project has demonstrated that the needs of many young people are likely be missed through sole reliance on the VONIY and business rules established around its use. It is recommended that screening assessment for disability related needs is necessary for all young people engaged with Youth Justice, in order to identify and respond appropriately to them in the context of their needs.
- Careful consideration of the divisional resourcing to enable follow up for young people whose screening has identified the presence of needs and the recommendation for subsequent comprehensive assessment response is also required. Consideration also needs to be given to further delineating and formalising the concurrent responsibilities of partner agencies with whom Youth Justice connects, in particular the Department for Child Protection, the Department for Health (CAMHS), and the Department of Education.
- Given the high prevalence of needs in the population, all staff in the custodial, community and strategy/policy business areas of Youth Justice should be provided with educational training opportunities regarding awareness of neurodevelopmental disability, how young people with those needs can present, and how their needs are best responded to.
- Youth Justice should ensure that disability-informed policies and procedures are embedded across the business, and a targeted workplan to achieve this should be included in strategic planning.
- Youth Justice staff are strongly encouraged to refer to YJAIS if disability-related needs are known or suspected, and are considered to have an impact on young person’s behaviour and/or functioning. YJAIS should continue to strengthen partnerships with business units and teams across the division, and monitor service framework implementation to ensure that specialist allied health services are visible, accessible and provide timely responses to staff requests for consultation, assessment and intervention.
- Review of existing Youth Justice client-facing documentation should be undertaken, and a workplan developed to make them communication and youth friendly and accessible (i.e. translate them into Easy English/Communication Friendly formats. This could be done in partnership between the Youth Justice Policy unit and YJAIS Speech Pathologists.
- Improved business technology and intelligence is required to:
- capture information about client disability-related need at the individual level to better inform service planning and response, and in order to be able to regularly report on these needs at the population level.
- share information across all business units of Youth Justice, with easily identified information about disability related needs. These needs are prevalent enough that where they have been identified in the past, on previous mandates and in other areas of the division, they need to be visible to all Youth Justice staff and partner agencies.
- Development and implementation of a Sensory Modulation framework to respond to the sensory processing needs of young people in custody (and the impact of sensory needs on challenging behaviours) is indicated. The aim of a Sensory Modulation framework is to pro-actively enhance the safe and secure care of young people and to minimise the use of physical interventions, mechanical restraints and use of safe rooms. This is likely to include an environmental audit to investigate the impact of social, physical, institutional and sensory environment on daily functioning for residents of the AYTC.