'I Can See Them Being Kids' : An Evaluation of the 'Referral Process' of Youth Advantage Outreach

Moodie, Kristina (2014) 'I Can See Them Being Kids' : An Evaluation of the 'Referral Process' of Youth Advantage Outreach. Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, Glasgow.

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Youth Advantage Outreach is a collaborative venture by the Army in Scotland and Police Scotland. The purpose is to provide an adventurous and challenging course using Army experience which is targeted at youth who have come to the attention of police as a result of offending or risk-taking behaviour. Several five-day residential courses are offered each year, in different locations in Scotland for mixed-sex groups of up to 40 young people aged 14 to 17. The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ) was invited by the Scottish Government to undertake a study to examine perceptions of value of the experience among a sample of referrers. Interviews were conducted with 12 individuals and one group, who work either for YAO or with YAO. Key findings include: - Overall the course is seen extremely positively by both referrers and the young people who attend, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting very good outcomes for some young people who were going down a very negative path prior to taking part. - Referrers found having no problems finding young people both willing and appropriate to attend courses. - Local authorities have found their own means of referral, coordination of the cohorts and use of the course. - There is a great deal of variation in the understanding and the application of course attendance criteria among referral co-ordinators, some issues raised in relation to communication, particularly as regards the potential flexibility of the content of the course and a suggestion that not all agencies are comfortable sharing information about the young people referred.