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“Healthy Children, Safer Communities” Strategy

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

I am pleased to announce that “Healthy Children, Safer Communities”, the Government’s joint strategy to promote the health and well-being needs of children and young people in contact with the youth justice system, is being published today.

This strategy will work to improve the health and well-being of children and young people in contact with the youth justice system to ensure that children and young people are safer, healthier and stay away from crime and that communities will be safer too.

In particular, the strategy:

provides a strategic framework within which local services can deliver quality improvements, and communicates the framework to the relevant health, education and youth justice organisations;

sets out the actions the Government will take to support these improvements;

develops a national approach, by building on the good work and good practice that is already underway in individual localities; and

maintains the significant impetus from recent policy developments including the Youth Crime Action Plan; Healthy Children, Brighter Futures Strategy, and Lord Bradley’s review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system, to drive forward improvements in health and well-being services for children and young people in contact with the youth justice system.

The key elements of the strategy and related work for young people in contact with the youth justice system are:

harnessing mainstream services to reduce offending and reoffending—wherever children and young people are in the youth justice system, and whenever they are at risk of coming into this system, the health and well being needs should be met through mainstream services;

addressing health and well-being throughout the youth justice system—contact with the youth justice system will produce positive health and well-being outcomes for children and young people; and

making it happen—policy and decision-makers at national, regional and local level champion a strong response to the health inequalities experienced by children and young people involved in or at risk of becoming involved in antisocial and offending behaviour.

A copy of the strategy has been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office.