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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-10740: Adam Tomkins (Glasgow)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 14 August 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what interventions there are to provide support to parents of young offenders to ensure that they do not reoffend.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 6 September 2017

Families of children and young people who offend often have similar needs to those with welfare concerns. A range of intensive programmes are available, and local partners make decisions on what is most appropriate to meet the needs of children and families in their communities.

Work in this area complements our approach to getting it right for children and young people, including support through community justice and youth justice. The suite of guidance published in relation to youth justice’s Whole System Approach highlights the importance of families being included when services carry out work with children and young people who offend.

At the national level, the Scottish Government awarded £14m in 2016-17 to 118 organisations supporting children, families and communities across Scotland. This support is channelled through the Children, Young People, Families, Early Intervention (CYPFEIF) and Adult Learning and Empowering Communities (ALEC) Fund. The CYPFEIF aspect of the Fund aims to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families - one of its key components is to improve parenting capacity and family support.

One of the organisations benefitting from this funding is Families Outside, who have been allocated £135,000 per year to run their Scottish-based helpline. The helpline provides information and signposting to support networks for families of all prisoners, including those in the youth justice system. The Scottish Government also funds the HMYOI Polmont Family Help Hub and Bus.This facility provides access to support and information for families visiting those in YOI.

Other programmes include Teen Triple P (a positive parenting programme which is suitable for parents, step parents, grandparents and carers of pre-teens and teenagers), Multi Systemic Therapy (an intensive family and community based intervention for children and young people who are at risk of care or custody due to their offending or due to extreme behavioural problems) and Functional Family Therapy (a short term intervention, using a therapeutic approach with children, young people and their family where there is a high level of conflict and problematic behaviours).

There are also services offering mediation between children, young people and their parents/carers. Some local authorities also have Family Group Decision Making Teams, which can be a helpful forum to support all members of the family to have a voice and shared plan on how best to improve their situation.