Youth Justice: children in trouble or children in need?

Cooper, Barry and Hester, Richard (2010). Youth Justice: children in trouble or children in need? In: Seden, Janet; Matthews, Sarah; McCormick, Mick and Morgan, Alun eds. Professional Development in Social Work: Complex Issues in Practice. Post-qualifying Social Work. Abingdon, UK and New York, USA: Routledge, pp. 69–75.



In this chapter we argue that social workers who are members of youth justice services have to see the children and young people with whom they work as being both ‘in need’ as well as being ‘in trouble’. Part of the complexity of the social work role in any setting arises from social workers being expected to work effectively across the boundaries of many social and organisational systems. Practice that crosses the complexities of youth justice and child care services, however, offers particular scope for the social worker to focus upon the welfare needs of individual young people. Where necessary, a youth justice social worker (YJSW) should prioritise and advocate for the needs of children and young people to be recognised within the demands of the criminal justice system. This requires confident, critical practice. We illustrate in this chapter some of the contexts, contributions and capabilities of social work within the complexities of the youth justice practice context.

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions