Sociology at Lancaster University are delighted to host the following seminar by leaders in the field of Youth Justice:
Positive Youth Justice: Children First, Offenders Second
Professor Stephen Case, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University
Mike Blower, Area Manager, Surrey Youth Support Service
Paul Axon, Head of Oldham Youth Justice Service
The Children First, Offenders Second (CFOS) model evolves youth justice beyond its contemporary risk focus and promotes a positive, principled, progressive and practical approach to the treatment of children in the Youth Justice System. The measurement, assessment and amelioration of the risk children present to themselves and others underpins and drives contemporary youth justice processes. However, the utility of the risk paradigm has been over-stated and is incapable of sustaining the faith placed in it as the guiding principle for animating youth justice practice. Nevertheless, there is at present no consensus about what approach to youth justice should or can replace risk as the driver of policy and practice.
This paper outlines the CFOS model as a manifesto for changing the Youth Justice System – a modern, economic-normative paradigm founded on central guiding principles for positive youth justice practice – child-friendly and child-appropriate, rights-focused treatment, diversion, inclusionary prevention, participation and engagement, legitimacy, the promotion of positive behaviour and outcomes, evidence-based partnership, systems management and the responsibilisation of adults. Therefore, CFOS constitutes a blueprint for a distinctive, principled, progressive approach to working with children; one that can be adopted and adapted by local authority areas throughout England and Wales, and by other nation states across the UK, Europe and beyond. The evolution, trajectory and practical realisation of CFOS positive youth justice will be discussed and animated with evidence from a twenty-year programme of associated reflective research in Swansea and the emerging success of an integrated, holistic and child-friendly delivery model in Surrey.