What makes services effective for young adults? YSS Service Users Forum
Lots of service user feedback including: “They meet you in neutral zones, it lets you get things off you chest and it makes me feel secure”.

 YSS  held a Service User Forum day, where two external agencies (Clinks +T2A/ Transition to Adulthood and Black Training and Enterprise Group( BTEG))  met with service users, YSS staff and partner agencies.

lorraineIsabel Livingstone from CLINKS and her colleague Jessica Mullen facilitated one workshop around the following project: “Developing guidance for probation staff on working with young adults”, on behalf of the Transitions to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance. Clinks are visiting projects that show good practice and creative, effective approaches to working with young adults on probation licence. The purpose of the visit was to learn from YSS service users, staff and partners about what makes services effective for young adults, to help T2A/ Clinks  write a guide for probation staff.

 The second workshop was facilitated by Tebussum Rashid, Black Training and Enterprise Group( BTEG), Head of Organisation Development, who wanted to look at how the needs and views of BAME young adults were addressed.

sevice user sHere are some of the YSS service user quotes:

  •  “Without YSS help I wouldn’t have got the accommodation”.
  • “The difference between YSS and others is that they give you the time and the help you need. I asked to work with YSS because I travel a long way to meet my Probation Officer and I wanted more help”.
  • “I understand that Probation are there for Public Protection but I needed real help and support for all my problems. That why YSS are different – they get things done”.
  • “Once you leave prison you are left to sort  it yourself and that’s really hard because when you are in prison everything is sorted for you”.

 When asked what are the qualities of a YSS worker, the responses from service users and partner agencies were:

  •  “They are committed – they are always on it, looking at different ways of getting things done. If it doesn’t work out the first way, they work out another way of sorting it”.
  •  “They are dedicated and they actually care about you – you’re not just a job to them”.
  •  “They have empathy and depth. They look at you like you are a real person. They don’t judge. They take the time to build a relationship with you. You can pick up the phone and talk to them when things are bad. You don’t get that from anyone else I’ve worked with”
  • “If I’m really struggling I know I can pick up the phone and use their out of hours number. I know its not my worker, but they always make you feel better after talking to them”.

 What is the most important thing about working with YSS?

  •  “Taking the time to get to know me”.
  •  “I went to detox and my YSS worker used to ring me to check how I was getting on and to make sure I was Ok – she didn’t need to do that but she did it anyway”.
  •  “I finished my Order and my time with YSS but they still rang me to check I was OK – no-one else was bothered if I was coping or not.”
  •  “Probation have such high caseloads they don’t have the time for you.”

 What do Young Adults want?

  •  “They want a role model and someone they can relate to and look up to. They don’t want to be “told off” and have a finger pointed at them!”
  •  “its not just asking me what’s wrong, its about doing something with the information I give them. That’s why I like having a YSS worker – they listen. Not many people do”.
  •  “Some areas don’t get YSS. I couldn’t believe it! – I was glad when I moved back to Kiddie so I could get YSS again”.
  •  “They meet you in neutral zones, it lets you get things off you chest and it makes me feel secure”.
  •  “Working with YSS has had a positive effect on me and my kids. My behaviour has changed for the better and so has theirs. I’m a better dad now”

 The T2A Alliance evidences and promotes distinct and effective approaches for young adults (18-24 year olds) throughout the criminal justice process. T2A is a coalition of 13 leading criminal justice, health and youth charities, convened by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and chaired by Joyce Moseley OBE. T2A has contributed to positive change in policy and practice at a central and local level, and its evidence has informed service redesign and delivery nationally and internationally.

Clinks is the national membership body for voluntary sector organisations working in criminal justice. Clinks has been a member of the T2A Alliance since its inception, and in 2012 we published Going for Gold, a guide setting out how to develop effective services and partnerships for young adults throughout the Criminal Justice System.



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