Movement restriction conditions in the children's hearing system: guidance

Information for social workers who have a statutory responsibility to present information to children’s panel members.


5.0 A variety of factors appear to contribute to positive outcomes for young people involved in offending or other difficult or challenging behaviour who subsequently make changes in their lives.. Perhaps most significant is the individual's personal resilience and motivation to change, closely followed by the support available to him from family and friends. In those instances where professionals such as social workers contribute positively in some way to the change process, most often this stems from the quality of the relationship they have been able to build with the young person. Consistency, honesty, fairness and being respectful are some of the critical foundations upon which strong relationships grow. As such, when consideration is being given to the vital package of support around which any MRC for a young person should be built, it is the quality rather than the quantity of support that is likely to prove decisive in promoting desistance. There is no minimum number of hours of support that must be provided before an MRC can be imposed but there is an expectation that "care, education and health needs" [7] will be addressed. Where possible the implementation authority should ensure that the volume and intensity of support is not at such a level that the young person and his parent(s)/carer(s) perceive it to be overwhelming or unmanageable. However as a provision which constitutes a direct alternative to secure accommodation, the package of support delivered in tandem with an MRC must reflect the highly intrusive nature of the measure.

5.1 All young people up to the age of 16 are legally required to be in full-time education. In considering how the time of a young person subject to an MRC might be managed therefore it is important to consider the role to be played by education. As such, close liaison between the Lead Professional and education professionals is likely to be of central importance in the construction of a robust package of support to accompany an MRC.

5.2 Ideally any young person up to the age of 16 will be able to access a full-time education placement in a mainstream education provision. Unfortunately for those young people who may be considered for MRCs, it is not uncommon for mainstream education placements to have been disrupted by absences, reduced timetables, exclusions or their transition to an alternative education resource. Where a significant gap exists in terms of education provision for a young person, it would be questionable whether the imposition of an MRC would constitute an appropriate disposal. While EM may be appropriate in conjunction with a full and varied programme of activities in a young person's life, it risks becoming an unduly restrictive disposal without the prioritisation by the implementation authority of the task of filling the gap in education service provision.

5.3 It is important for the Lead Professional to ensure that discrimination against any young person subject to an MRC is challenged. Education, training and employment providers should be encouraged to work collaboratively with a young person subject to an MRC to ensure that this status does not lead to stigmatisation [8] .

5.4 Aside from education, training and employment which it is anticipated would structure the majority of a young person's time when subject to an MRC, numerous additional possibilities exist to support a young person to grow, develop and flourish. The Lead Professional may aim to undertake specific work with the child or young person on a 1:1 basis, through groupwork or indeed through intensive family work. The function of this work would be to address some of the features of a young person's individual, family or community/structural circumstances contributing to the behaviour(s) of concern. Such work might be informed by the content of a Blueprint Programme, the Youth Justice Programme, Safer Lives resources or other forms of structured and/or modular activities.

5.5 On occasion a young person may present with significant substance and/or alcohol misuse issues which are linked to his problematic behaviour. Equally a young person may present with significant mental health difficulties and/or additional support needs. Regular contact with specialist services in Addictions or the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service ( CAMHS) would then naturally become components of a young person's package of support. At minimum it would be anticipated that every young person whose behaviour has escalated to the level where restrictive disposals such as an MRC or secure accommodation are under consideration would be entitled to a full mental health assessment addressing both psychological and psychiatric needs.

5.6 In general, young people who present with the most challenging behaviour tend to come to the attention of services at an earlier rather than a later stage. On that basis, it would be anticipated that when a young person is being considered for an MRC it is likely that this will have been preceded by an extended period of professional support and involvement. Furthermore, it would be expected that the variety and intensity of services offered to the young person and his family would have grown incrementally over time in an effort to prevent further deterioration. Recourse to an MRC might therefore be understood as the last course of action available to try to prevent a young person being removed from the community.

5.7 The implementation authority must give careful consideration to the sustainability of any resources and supports provided to a young person and his family when subject to an MRC. The provision of support, increases or reductions in its intensity and the decision to withdraw support must be linked to an assessment of risks and needs and reflected in the Child's Plan. Cessation of EM must not automatically trigger cessation of other forms of support and restrictions.


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