Mentally disordered young offenders in transition from child and adolescent to adult mental health services across England and Wales

Maria I. Livanou (Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)
Vivek Furtado (Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)
Swaran P. Singh (Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

The Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 2050-8794

Publication date: 13 November 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides an overview of transitions across forensic child and adolescent mental health services in England and Wales. The purpose of this paper is to delineate the national secure services system for young people in contact with the youth justice system.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews findings from the existing literature of transitions across forensic child and adolescent mental health services, drawing attention to present facilitators and barriers to optimal transition. The authors examine the infrastructure of current services and highlight gaps between child and adult service continuity and evaluate the impact of poor transitions on young offenders’ mental health and wellbeing.

Findings

Young offenders experience a broad range of difficulties, from the multiple interfaces with the legal system, untreated mental health problems, and poor transition to adult services. Barriers such as long waiting lists, lack of coordination between services and lack of transition preparation impede significantly smooth transitions.

Research limitations/implications

The authors need to develop, test and evaluate models of transitional care that improve mental health and wellbeing of this group.

Practical implications

Mapping young offenders’ care pathway will help to understand their needs and also to impact current policy and practice. Key workers in forensic services should facilitate the transition process by developing sustainable relationships with the young person and creating a safe clinical environment.

Originality/value

Transition of care from forensic child and adolescent mental health services is a neglected area. This paper attempts to highlight the nature and magnitude of the problems at the transition interface in a forensic context.

Keywords

Citation

Livanou, M., Furtado, V. and Singh, S. (2017), "Mentally disordered young offenders in transition from child and adolescent to adult mental health services across England and Wales", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 301-308. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-01-2017-0002

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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