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The service that gives Havering's young offenders a second chance

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 January 2016

Havering Youth Offending Service tries to keep youngsters out of HMP Feltham by offering preventative work. Picture Matthew Fearn/PA Archive/PA Images

Havering Youth Offending Service tries to keep youngsters out of HMP Feltham by offering preventative work. Picture Matthew Fearn/PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

Despite national budget cuts of £9million set to come into force by April, Havering Youth Offending Service (YOS) predicts 68 per cent of its clients will be in education by the time their court orders are completed.

The service aims to give under-18s a second chance at building a positive future.

Its work includes programmes for the parents of young people who are on the brink of entering the criminal justice system. The courses teach ways to set boundaries and rules, as well as give tips on understanding teenagers.

A spokesman for Havering YOS said: “In regard to first-time entrants, we have seen a reduction of almost 50pc in the number of young people coming into the system during the past three to four years.

“In 2012 we worked with 208 young people, in 2013 we had 140.

“In 2015, we worked with 69 who were actually on statutory court orders.”

The youth offending service uses a multi-agency approach, working with organisations in the fields of mental health, education and substance misuse.

It has also adopted an innovative way of helping teenagers by using an accredited community service programme.

Cllr Meg Davis, Havering Council’s cabinet member for children and learning, said: “Physical work in the community is all accredited by the AQA [which also provides qualifications to schools and colleges].”

This enables young people to learn skills and gain work experience.

The YOS spokesman said reoffending rates in the borough are on the decline, having fallen to 29pc in 2015.

Cllr Davis added: “Partnership working is absolutely key and it demonstrates how much we value children’s education.

“The youth offending service cares about families in Havering and we want the best for them.”

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