Thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust and in partnership with the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ), we have begun a new project to amplify the voice of young people with experience of the care and justice systems. In this blog we give a quick outline of the project.

Why is Staf taking on this project?         

We know that care experienced young people are vastly over represented in the justice system. In fact, a 2017 survey found that just under half (47 per cent) of adults in custody reported being looked after as a child[1].

Yet, despite great strides in recent years in giving weight to the views of young people with care experience, the voice of those who also have experience of the justice system is still missing from the structures, organisations and services which exist to support them.

Both Staf and CYCJ (the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice) believe that when we listen to young people, and act on their views, we can not only improve systems and services but improve their lives.

“The purpose of the project is to amplify the voices of care-experienced young people within the justice system. We will use young people’s experiences to identify key issues and recommendations for change. The 3 year project will use creative ways to enable young people to both explore and share their experiences with policymakers, managers and the Scottish Government.” Ruth Kerracher


Who will be leading on this project?

Ruth Kerracher has joined our team as Youth Participation Worker, dividing her time between Staf and CYCJ. Ruth brings a wealth of experience with her, having worked in a number of roles supporting children, young people and families. This has included participation, mentoring and peer education projects.

The role strengthens the existing partnership with CYCJ, which last year led to a commendation at the Howard League Community Awards for our work on responding to offending in residential care.

“I understand how significant relationships are to care-experienced young people and how trauma can negatively impact on future life chances. I believe the experiences I have gained from children and families work has also given me insight into some of the dilemmas and demands that the workforce face whilst trying to support care leavers.” Ruth Kerracher


What will be the outcome of the project and how will it support Staf members?

First and foremost, this role will create opportunities for care and justice experienced young people to exercise their participation rights. To fully achieve this it is vital that we work in partnership with the people and services that support them. And by doing so, we can support the workforce to listen and act on the voice of young people to deliver the improvements we all want to see.

“The three year funding means that we have time to invest in relationships, establishing and developing a steering group which is made up of care and justice experienced young people so they can shape and lead the project.” Ruth Kerracher


How can members get involved?

Ruth is happy to meet with workers and young people to discuss the project. If you would like more information on how to get involved, contact [email protected]

[1] p.7