Alternatives to secure care and custody: guidance

Guidance for local authorities, community planning partnerships and service providers on developing a whole system approach.

9. Conclusion

This guidance is designed to demonstrate what robust alternatives to custody services should include, drawing on available evidence. It focuses on the need for all young people to be assessed for community alternatives as opposed to secure care and custody.

The services requirements for such schemes have been outlined, with specific focus on the different approaches needed for girls. The intensity of 'wrap round' has been shown to be effective - especially when you start working with a young person or during crisis - and the cost benefits of such schemes have been demonstrated.

The literature has shown the disadvantages some young people face, through their life histories, and how this can continue if they are placed in secure care or custody. To break this cycle, we need to offer young people a service that meets their needs, following the principles of GIRFEC, and give decision makers a robust credible alternative service, that shows positive outcomes in reducing offending.

Local authorities and community planning partnerships should start to tailor services, based on the above principles and evidence, by working in partnership, to offer young people the best possible outcomes; by protecting them and the communities in which they live; by making financial savings and ultimately meeting the Scottish Government's National priorities. If tendering for further services, criteria should be based on the best interests of the child.


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