Scrutiny Councillors very pleased with Youth Justice Board’s letter of de-escalation to Youth Offending Services in Swansea

The Child & Family Services Panel met in May to receive an update on progress with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and a briefing on the Youth Offending Service.

The Panel heard that joint Service elements have slowed down due to Covid and the impact of the last year on young people’s mental health has been significant.

The Panel queried the waiting time for the Neurology Development Service and heard that even though there was an improvement initially with 80% completed in 6 months, there is now a three-fold increase in referrals and the waiting period is currently over 6 months. Discussions are being held Wales-wide on what can be done and this issue is being kept under review as improvement is necessary.

The Panel was pleased to see a single point of access in place, which was previously recommended by the CAMHS Scrutiny Inquiry. Some of the performance indicators will need to be re-developed to show what needs to be known locally and to evidence work now being done.  The Panel is looking forward to seeing performance on CAMHS coming through in Performance Monitoring Reports to Scrutiny.

The Panel was pleased to hear that the Single Point of Access Telephone lines will be open five days per week as opposed to two hours per week previously, and that the Crisis Service is available on the weekend.

The Panel heard that a new app called ‘Kooth’ is being made available for children and is being put in place by Swansea Bay.  Also a new regional website is launching in June.

The Director of Social Services thinks progress made with CAMHS is very impressive and the continuum of support is much more developed. He added that although specialist CAMHS has demand issues, he feels confident they can have discussions now about how to try and deal with the short term increase in demand.

The Panel was reassured that despite the pressures, the Service is able to provide an urgent response when a child is in absolute crisis. The Panel was also pleased to hear that the Crisis Team is fully staffed and would be able to respond to a child in absolute crisis, despite access to beds being at crisis point. The Panel congratulated everyone on the good progress being made despite the pandemic and hoped this would continue.

The Panel also received a briefing on progress with the Youth Offending Service. The Panel were very pleased to hear that the Youth Justice Board has provided a letter of de-escalation as they are satisfied the Service is working in the right direction. This is a great achievement and shows huge improvement over the last year. The Service is also continually focussing on the improvement journey and the Improvement and Action Plan is reviewed on a six-monthly basis.

The Panel heard that the Mobilisation of Speech and Language Service has been funded by further investment and is led by Swansea to help young people engage and understand what is expected of them. The service is starting in July and is an effective communications system.

Senior officers provided an overview of the recent performance monitoring report, which was very positive.

The Director of Social Services told the Panel that partnership commitment was evident and the evidence shows improvement. He is optimistic that when inspectors return they will find considerable improvement and innovation.

The Panel raised concerns about young people’s involvement in the riots in May Hill. Officers confirmed there is a huge coordinated response with 50 agencies involved. Issues around violence and young people are being looked at across Swansea with partners and there is a need to continue to think about this and plan. Officers believe having more of a presence in the community should make a difference.

To view a recording of this meeting, read all reports and letters sent to and received from the Cabinet Member please click here.

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