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Humanistic Solution Focused Parenting Support to Reduce Youth Criminal Offending

Posted by Dan Jones on April 6, 2012 at 9:45 AM

“Working with parents to reduce & prevent youth offending and re-offending”

For the last five years I have been working intensively with the Youth Offending Service to offer parenting support to parents of young people at risk of offending or already offending to reduce youth offending rates. Here is a brief summary of my findings. I offered a service to 321 families and tracked the youth offending rates for a year, and tracked 91 of the families over a three year period.

Parents were worked with but not the young people, the idea is that by 'changing one part of a system the whole system must change'. The average number of sessions was 6 (minimum 1, maximum 12).

"Full Data - 321 Families Offered a Service Between August 2007 & January 2011 - Tracking Criminal Offences In The Year Following Parental Engagement Or Parent’s Declining Support" and "3 Year Longitudinal Data - 91 Families Offered a Service Between August 2007 & July 2008 -Tracked Until October 2011"

Outcomes compared to the groups of parents that chose not to engage (full data gathered on offending rates in the year following intervention or declined support; longitudinal data gathered on offending rates over the 3 years following intervention or declined support – longitudinal results in brackets):

■68% (66%) less young people went on to offend when parents engaged in parenting support (based on all parents offered support - 321 parents were offered a service in total; all had data gathered over a one year period; 91 had data gathered over a 3 year period, 57% (52%) engaged, 43% (48%) chose not to engage)

■69% (66%) less young people went on to offend when parents of children/young people ‘at risk of offending’ (prevention parenting support) engaged in parenting support (based on 225 parents that were offered a service that had young people that previously HADN’T offended; 64 had data gathered over a 3 year period, 64% (58%) engaged, 36% (42%) chose not to engage)

■43% (51%) less young people went on to re-offend when parents of young people that had already offended engaged in parenting support (based on 96 parents that were offered a service that had young people that previously HAD offended; 27 had data gathered over a 3 year period, 39% (37%) engaged, 61% (63%) chose not to engage)

The last figure may be due to chances of re-offending increasing faster over time following the young person alone having intervention compared to the parent also receiving support. The other figures have a gradual decline over time as would be expected as offending rates gradually increase. It could also be that many of the young people are on orders during the first year that have ended by year two and three, so the families where parents chose not to engage have young people becoming more likely to re-offend after their orders finish, whereas the families where parents chose to engage had parents that were able to keep changes going and continue supporting the work done with the young person's worker during the order through years two and three.

The data shows that parents of young offenders are less likely to engage than parents of children/young people that haven’t offended. There is also a gradual creeping up of offending rates over time as would be expected and even after 3 years offending rates in those that engage with support are still lower following support than before support; whereas with those that don’t engage the offending rate overtakes the initial level.

To tackle the gradual increase in offending that happens over time parents that receive support should have access to a parenting support group that they can ‘drop in and out of’ as and when they need it to keep them parenting as effectively as possible and should perhaps be offered ‘top up’ support yearly – just a phone call to see how things are going & if necessary a session or two, or recommend into a monthly parenting support group.

Categories: Parenting

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