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The influence of attachment experiences and mental health issues on offending behaviour of young people in residential care

Connor, C 2011, The influence of attachment experiences and mental health issues on offending behaviour of young people in residential care , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

As a youth offending officer working with looked after children in residential care it became increasingly difficult for me to reconcile my professional responsibility to compile pre-sentence reports with my personal sense of injustice on behalf of the young people that I was working with. The tension between balancing the welfare needs of young people with the requirement for justice within an adversarial youth justice system led to the development of this practitioner research study. Semi-structured interviews were recorded with young people in residential care who had been convicted of a criminal offence. Over a period of twelve months, twenty young people agreed to participate and spoke about the triggers for their offending behaviour, family relationships, self esteem, people who were important to them and their feelings about care. Documentary evidence was analysed from statutory reports and minutes of reviews for looked after children. From this, a picture was formed of conflicting pressures and mismatches between evidence, perception, responses and outcomes. This study found that there is a gap between what is known about looked after children and application of this knowledge to practice in an integrated multi-agency way. There was also a gap between the perceptions of young people and professionals about their experiences and needs. Some elements of the care system exacerbated the emotional wellbeing of participants and opportunities for change were missed. Already vulnerable following experiences of neglect abuse and rejection, the mental health and well being of looked after children is significantly impaired by the time they enter residential care. Initially taken into care for their own safety and wellbeing, many participants in this study, by the time they reached adolescence, were perceived by professionals to be challenging, difficult to control and a risk to others rather than a victim of the system.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: (Supervisor)
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care
Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2015 23:23
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26623

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