Social work and service improvement: An example from the first youth forensic forum

Joanna Appleby

Abstract


INTRODUCTION: This article focuses on the social work contribution to service improvement by reflecting on the establishment of the first youth forensic forum in Aotearoa New Zealand, held in October 2018.

APPROACH: An exploration of the Aotearoa New Zealand context that led to the establishment of the first youth forensic workforce forum is presented. Issues included disjointed mental health care for young offenders who move between secure residences, concerns about over- assessment of vulnerable young people, silo-ed specialist youth forensic knowledge, and a disconnected workforce. Led by a social worker, youth forensic workforce issues were addressed through the inaugural national youth forensic forum in 2018. The aim of the forum was to bring a disparate workforce together in order to improve mental health assessment experiences for young people within youth justice residences. This initiative was grounded in social work approaches of Māori responsivity, networking, ecological systems and relational practice.

CONCLUSION: Social workers have an important role in advocating for, and effecting, system change. The process for doing so within the youth forensic forum is presented. Social workers in all fields of practice are encouraged to consider how they work to make systems more responsive to the people they serve.


Keywords


Mental health; youth forensic; systems; policy

Full Text:

PDF

References


Appleby, J., Shepherd, D. M., & Staniforth, D. B. (2019). Speaking the same language: Navigating information-sharing in the youth justice sphere. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 31(1), 59–71. doi:10.11157/anzswj-vol31iss1id537

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by design and nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. (2018). He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. Retrieved from www. mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz/inquiry-report/

Lynch, N. (2016). Neurodisability in the youth justice system in New Zealand: How vulnerability intersects with justice. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers. cfm?abstract_id=2869502

Maxwell, G., Robertson, J., Kingi, V., Morris, A. & Cunningham, C. (2004). Achieving effective outcomes in youth justice: An overview of findings. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Social Development.

McCarter, S. (2017). The school-to-prison pipeline: A primer for social workers. Social Work, 62(1), 53–61. doi:https:// doi.org/10.1093/sw/sww078

Ministry of Health. (2010). Review of forensic mental health services: Future directions. Wellington, New Zealand: Author.

Ministry of Health. (2011). Youth forensic services development: Guidance for the health and disability sector on the development of specialist forensic mental health, alcohol and other drug, and intellectual disability services for young people involved in New Zealand’s justice system. Wellington, New Zealand: Author.

Morrison, B. (2009). Identifying and responding to bias in the criminal justice system: A review of international and New Zealand research. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Justice.

Office of the Children’s Commissioner. (2019). Supporting young people on remand to live successfully in the community. Retrieved from https://www.occ.org.nz/ assets/Uploads/ShortReport-May2019-Pages2.pdf.

Snelgar, K. (2019). Decolonising the justice system. Retrieved from https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018710206/decolonising- the-justice-system.

Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora. (2019). He waka roimata: Transforming our criminal justice system. Retrieved from https://safeandeffectivejustice.govt.nz/assets/ Uploads/fa55462d44/teuepureport_hewakaroimata.pdf

The Werry Centre. (2009). A literature review: Mental health and alcohol and other drug screening, assessment and treatment for youth justice populations. Retrieved from http://www.werryworkforce.org/professionals/ publications-and-resourcestid=All&tid_1=All&tid_2=All&field_released_date_value[value]&page=2




DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol32iss1id709

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.