Overview of the role

Work with children who have offended or are at risk of offending.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in Youth Offending Services within Local Authorities. It is also relevant to practitioners working in voluntary sector organisations providing youth justice interventions.
The broad purpose of the occupation is to work with children who have offended or are at risk of offending, and by using evidence-based interventions promote their desistance from offending or divert them from the youth justice system. (Desistance is the professional term for the process of how someone with a previous pattern of offending comes to abstain from crime. The role is undertaken within a statutory framework specific to children aged 10 – 17 (and occasionally those aged 18) and subject to Standards for Children in the Youth Justice System, set by the Secretary of State for Justice on the advice of the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England and Wales.
In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with children up to the age of 17/18 involved in offending or anti-social behaviour. They work with some of the most disadvantaged children in our society who often have multiple and complex needs. They will also interact regularly with families. All youth justice practitioners work within a complex multi-agency and multi-disciplinary context. They will work alongside social workers, probation officers, police officers, youth workers, educational and health staff and with child and adolescent mental health staff in their immediate teams. Youth justice practitioners also work closely with court staff and need to understand how the courts (in particular the Youth Court) operate and specific legislation relevant to children. Youth justice practitioners will need to interact with staff from the secure estate. The secure estate comprises Young Offender Institutions, Secure Training Centres, Secure Children’s Homes and Secure Schools. These are all subject to different legislation and referral criteria, and the roles of care staff working in them will vary. They will also need to interact with staff from other services specific to children – schools and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, for example. Youth justice practitioners in both the community and secure establishments will need to collaborate in order to facilitate children’s resettlement when they are released.
An employee in this occupation will be responsible for the effective supervision of children in contact with the youth justice system. Practitioners will function largely autonomously to engage with children, their families and other professionals in order to assess their needs using mandatory YJB tools; develop youth justice intervention plans; and review and monitor progress. The cases they manage are often complex, involving children experiencing mental health difficulties, substance misuse problems and/or special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Many of these children will also be experiencing difficult family situations and face safeguarding issues pertinent to youth justice, e.g. abuse, radicalisation, child sexual exploitation (CSE), Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and involvement in gangs. Youth justice practitioners are responsible for making decisions which affect the lives of children that are evidence-based, ethical and defensible. They will also be responsible for promoting the safety and wellbeing of the children they work with; protecting the public and victims of crime; and making rapid risk assessments about their own safety. They will report to an Operational Manager and have formal supervisions to discuss their decision-making and reflect on the outcomes of their work. The amount and regularity of supervision will vary between organisations. Many practitioners will have responsibilities for specific areas of youth justice work – education, intensive supervision and surveillance or substance misuse, for example. They will advise other staff in these areas, carry out additional specialist assessments and lead on new initiatives.

Typical job titles include:

Intensive supervision and surveillance practitioner Intervention worker Reparation officer Youth offending service case manager Youth offending service officer Youth offending team officer

Entry requirements

The most common requirement would be experience of working with young people and sometimes adults in challenging situations which could include hostels, special schools, family support teams, residential childcare, youth services, learning care assistants. Having been a volunteer in local order referral panels, or acting as an appropriate adult at police stations would also be valuable experience. Candidates will be expected to have a strong strong commitment to equal opportunities and diversity.

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Work with children between the ages of 10 and 17/18 who offend or who are at risk of offending using knowledge of youth justice legislation and corresponding guidance.


S1 S15 S16

B1 B4

Duty 2 Promote resilience and support the positive development of children using in depth knowledge of child and adolescent development, emotional and mental health, and adverse childhood experiences.

K1 K2 K9 K10

S2 S3 S14 S16

B1 B3

Duty 3 Engage positively with children and their families in a manner that balances the dual roles of control and care, sanction and treatment.

K1 K4 K5

S1 S4 S10 S14 S16

B1 B2 B3

Duty 4 Promote desistance from offending using a range of practice skills and strategies (e.g. promoting trust, pro-social modelling and problem solving)

K1 K3 K5 K11

S5 S10 S16

B2 B3

Duty 5 Assess children's needs using tools standardised for and specific to youth justice

K1 K6 K11 K12

S6 S14 S16

B1 B5

Duty 6 Develop, implement and monitor youth justice intervention plans that are linked to outcomes from assessment, evidence based, appropriate to the child’s developmental stage and easily understood by them.

K1 K2 K3 K6 K11

S6 S7 S8 S14 S16

B1 B3 B5

Duty 7 Design and deliver interventions that are informed by the best available evidence of effective programme design and implementation as validated by the Youth Justice Board in their resource and evidence repository

K1 K5 K14

S8 S13 S16

B1 B3

Duty 8 Monitor and review the impact of approaches and interventions and adapt practice accordingly.

K1 K6 K14

S8 S13 S14 S16


Duty 9 Broker access to constructive support and services for children provided by other agencies though the use of social advocacy.

K1 K7 K8

S7 S9 S10 S16

B3 B5

Duty 10 Collaborate and share information with other agencies in order to develop plans that meet a child’s needs.

K1 K7 K8

S7 S11 S16

B3 B5

Duty 11 Undertake specialist, mandatory youth justice assessments that demonstrate the contextual aspects of risk, i.e. risk of what, to whom and circumstances in which risk is likely to be higher/lower.

K1 K6 K12

S2 S16

B1 B4 B5

Duty 12 Manage the risk presented by children in order to reduce future offending, protect the public and the rights of victims.

K1 K12

S2 S14 S16

B1 B4 B5

Duty 13 Minimise the impact of life changes and transitions between services that are specific to children.

K1 K9 K10

S9 S10 S16

B3 B5

Duty 14 Support the resettlement of children when they leave custody and the transition from youth justice services to adult probation providers/adult secure establishments.

K1 K7 K8 K10

S9 S10 S14 S16

B4 B5

Duty 15 Protect the rights of children, reduce disproportionality and promote equality of opportunity within the youth justice system in line with the policy and legislation relevant to the age group.

K1 K3 K9

S15 S16

B1 B3 B4

Duty 16 Promote the safety and wellbeing of children in line with national and local guidance and procedures.

K1 K8 K13

S3 S12 S16

B1 B4 B5



K1: Legislation and corresponding guidance relevant to all aspects of work in youth justice, including sentencing, risk of harm, safeguarding, children’s rights and equality and diversity. Back to Duty

K2: Child and adolescent development and the full range of complex needs that can be detrimental to children’s physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Back to Duty

K3: The range of factors (e.g. substance misuse and adverse childhood experiences) that may lead to offending and anti-social behaviour and the methods for promoting desistance from these. Back to Duty

K4: The principles of professional judgement, including defensible decision making, how to guard against conscious or unconscious bias and how to maintain professional boundaries. Back to Duty

K5: The key components of relationship-based practice and the evidence-base for them. Back to Duty

K6: The range and purpose of assessment and planning tools relevant to working with children in the youth justice system. Back to Duty

K7: The range and type of services available for children in the youth justice age group, including adult service providers and how these work in relation to young people who are in transition to them. Back to Duty

K8: Protocol and process arrangements in working with multi-agencies, including the sharing and safeguarding of information in line with data protection law. Back to Duty

K9: The emotional and practical needs of specialist groups of young people, e.g. Looked After Children, girls, LGBTQ+, BAME Back to Duty

K10: The practical, emotional and psychological impact of key types of life changes and transitions between services affecting children up to the age of 18. Back to Duty

K11: Barriers to children’s effective engagement with youth justice interventions. Back to Duty

K12: The contextual aspects of risk (risk of what, to whom and circumstances in which risk is likely to be higher or lower). Back to Duty

K13: Their own safeguarding responsibilities and those of others within and outside of their organisation. Back to Duty

K14: The principles of effective programme design and implementation for reducing offending and reoffending Back to Duty


S1: Communicate effectively face to face and in writing (including digitally) with children who encounter the youth justice system Back to Duty

S2: Identify the factors that may lead to offending and anti-social behaviour and the methods for promoting desistance, and use these to plan individually tailored interventions. Back to Duty

S3: Promote the physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of children in the youth justice system by recognising and building on strengths, identifying need and taking action to protect children where necessary. Back to Duty

S4: Use a range of engagement skills to promote trust, including clarification of role, purpose of intervention and boundaries of authority. Back to Duty

S5: Develop relationships that are collaborative, motivating and child-centred using a range of strategies to engage young people and families (e.g. motivational interviewing, solution focussed methods, participatory practice, pro-social modelling and problem solving). Back to Duty

S6: Make effective use of assessment and planning tools designed for use in youth justice settings to inform decision making. Back to Duty

S7: Develop, implement and monitor plans which reflect risks and needs, and build on positive human and social capital to promote desistance. Back to Duty

S8: Select interventions and approaches to working with young people based on the best available evidence about their effectiveness in promoting desistance from offending. Back to Duty

S9: Broker access to sources of human and social capital appropriate to the needs of children in the youth justice system. Back to Duty

S10: Be an effective social advocate for children and their families Back to Duty

S11: Share and safeguard information about children and their families in line with data protection law Back to Duty

S12: identify, assess and meet the needs of children and young people where there are safeguarding concerns Back to Duty

S13: Reflect on practice within evidence-based frameworks in order to continuously improve outcomes for children in the youth justice system. Back to Duty

S14: Identify any barriers to children’s effective engagement with youth justice interventions and take steps to remove or mitigate these. Back to Duty

S15: Actively protect the rights of children, challenge disproportionality and promote equality of opportunity Back to Duty

S16: Keep accurate and timely records of all interactions relevant to the assessment, planning, implementation and review cycle. Back to Duty


B1: Show consistency and fairness and be evidence-informed in making decisions. Back to Duty

B2: Model and reward pro-social behaviours, including respect for diversity and being inclusive, and discourage inappropriate language and behaviours Back to Duty

B3: Be optimistic and hopeful; non-blaming; open and honest; empathetic; and patient and calm in all interactions, including situations that are stressful Back to Duty

B4: Operate in accordance with the legal, ethical and contractual requirements of youth justice work and maintain professional boundaries. Back to Duty

B5: Commit to team working and engage proactively with partner organisations and agencies to maximise the engagement of children in mainstream services and other positive activities. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 5
Reference: ST0878
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 01/07/2021
Approved for delivery: 1 July 2021
Route: Protective services
Typical duration to gateway: 25 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £17000
LARS Code: 644
EQA Provider: Ofqual

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Employers involved in creating the standard: Bournemouth LAA Camden LAA Ealing Council Greenwich LAA Hackney LAA Leeds LAA Medway LAA Norfolk County Council Northamptonshire Council Southampton LAA Suffolk Council Wirral Council

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 01/07/2021 Not set Not set

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