This paper discusses how current policies and laws in England and Scotland govern social work in youth justice, an important aspect of child protection. The paper also discusses inter-agency cooperation – how social workers collaborate with other professionals to promote youth justice. For each country, an overview of existing policy and legal framework is provided and then analysed.
Scotland is a relatively small jurisdiction. Yet the country has a unique system of criminal justice. While other countries have adopted neo-liberal policies, Scotland largely remains a welfare state that is characterised by an enduring commitment to social work with those who break the law and welfarism in its justice system (Burman, et al., 2006). The Scottish youth justice system is founded on the Kilbrandon Committee report of 1964. The Kilbrandon Committee emphasized the need for the justice system to distinguish between juvenile offenders and children who simply needed care or protection (Raymond, 2004). The committee believed that even the offending children offend because of anomalies in their upbringing. Thus, the justice system should seek to identify and correct those anomalies. The arguments of Kilbrandon have permeated Scottish government policy on youth justice to date.
Offending young people in Scotland are subjected to the youth justice system that is separate from the justice system for adults. Two major players in the Scottish system of youth justice is the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and Children’s Reporters(Daniel, et al., 2010). The work of Childrens Reporters is to liaise with other actors to determine the most appropriate form of correction to an offending child. SCRA hires, deploys and facilitates the work of Childrens Reporters. A number of options are available to the Childrens Reporter, including referring the offending child to the Childrens