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Monday 9th of December 2019

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December 2016 - May 2018 - European Union Adolescent, Disorders, Health, Illness, Justice, Juvenile, Research

The project ‘FACT FOR MINORS – Fostering Alternative Care for Troubled Minors’ intends to address children with psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders, hosted by alternative care communities (or socio-educational communities) as a consequence of penal measures.

Research interests in mental health problems in juvenile justice have grown over the past years, as several studies throughout the world have shown that mental disorders are highly prevalent among children under penal measures. This represents a significant problem, even more so if the special needs of these children remain unidentified and unaddressed, with significant long-term effects on their life chances and on their physical and mental health and well-being.

The issues raised in European justice systems by children serving a penal measure in alternative care communities that show evidence of psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders, have been poorly addressed. In general, the dilemma posed by the intervention with children in the juvenile justice with such disorders lies in the fact that an inadequate therapeutic response may lead to chronical psychiatric disorders, while an inadequate socio-educational response may result in further marginalisation.

The main issue is that these children need adequate clinical attention and present clinical dilemmas, which is why they are often a real challenge for the social workers in alternative care communities. The response to this challenge cannot lay in parallel interventions by the juvenile justice and the health sectors; instead, it lays in a proper integration of the interventions of the two agencies and of the different professionals that work for or with these children. Indeed, managing children with psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders in alternative care communities requires a holistic, multidisciplinary and multiagency approach, focused on prevention, evaluation, treatment (including emergency treatment), and recovery, considering risk evaluation of clinical and legal relapse. Such approach is therefore both therapeutic and socio-educational.

In this context, this project intends to reinforce the capacity of alternative care communities in five European Union (EU) countries -Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain- to adequately support and respond to the specific needs of the children with psychiatric disorders under penal measures.

Such aim will be pursued by a two-fold action that will seek to:

 Strengthen the capacity of, and the coordination between, all professionals working with and for children in alternative care to address the needs of children with psychiatric disorders; and

 Boost interagency cooperation, in particular on issues related to the alternative care of minors under penal measures and with psychiatric disorders.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

 Successful intervention methods to address the needs of children with mental health disorders in alternative care will be identified, adapted and tested. The activities in this sense are the collection of statistic and qualitative data, where available, as well as the review of the existing national literature, practices and legal framework on alternative care communities and minors with psychological or personality disorders.

 Capacity building with professionals working with or for children in alternative care in 5 partner countries and at European level through an e-learning platform. First, a needs assessment of the identified setting for the capacity-building activities is performed; second, for the engagement of the professionals for the capacity building, there is a presentation of the project aims, the identification of the professionals’ needs and institutional strengths, and the development of a capacity-building methodology. This methodology will be tested with the partners’ supervision, and followed by several national, transnational and experts meetings and national reports.

 Strengthening of multi-agency and multi-disciplinary cooperation in the area of child protection in the 5 partner countries also through finalization of formal commitments. National multi-agency meetings will be held to contribute to this end.

 Development of outputs aimed at ensuring maximum impact, visibility and sustainability of the project results and in particular of the capacity building methodology developed. The outputs will be the European guidelines for the alternative care of children with special needs and the European Handbook for professionals working with children in alternative care. A website of the project will also be set up, and the project outputs’ impact will be verified at the national level by the corresponding Ministries.

 Communication and dissemination events to present project resulst and raise awareness on the rights of children in alternative care. The dissemination events will be held at the national level by the corresponding Ministries, and a final conference will be organised in Brussels. Finally, all partners will contribute to the dissemination of the project’s results through social media and events.

Click here to go to the project's web section on the IJJO website.

July 2014 - December 2014 - Europe Adolescent, Child, Justice, Juvenile, Offenders, Reintegration, Research, Restorative, Rights, Standards, Victims

Restorative practices support a participative notion of justice, that favours reintegration over retribution and punishment. As such, by investing in the youths' bond to the community and in a process that stimulates assumption of responsibility, restorative practices may prove particularly appropriate to integrate the best interest of the child in the justice process.

Furthermore, this research, through its definite regional connotation, was designed to stress the common denominator of practices that vary considerably from one European country to the other. In particular, the traditional focus on a children´s rights perspective, that prevails in European and EU standards, and that includes both the rights of the offender and the victim.

The project, carried out by the IJJO's European Council for Juvenile Justice, provided for three main outputs, in the form of the following final publications:

Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States

The team of experts from Greisfwald University, composed of Professor Frieder Dunkel and Doctor Andrea Parosanu, were in charge of the analysis of existing restorative practices across the 28 EU Member States, reviewed in the 28 final national snapshots. The research investigated the various factors that contribute to the effectiveness of restorative justice, taking into account: the legal bases that, in each country, trigger the access and use to restorative practices; the organisational framework and the attribution of responsibilities that determine the delivery of restorative measures; the implementation of restorative justice in practice; and finally the evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of restorative measures.

Vol I: Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States

Protecting Rights, Restoring Respect and Strengthening Relationships: European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

The European Model, which analyses good restorative practices, and key features of effectiveness, is based on the research conducted by a team of experts in the field of restorative justice. The experts also investigated the use of restorative measures through three case studies: Belgium, Finland and Northern Ireland. Tim Chapman, Course Director of the Restorative Practices Masters at the University of Ulster, coordinated the overall project. Maija Sisko Gellin, Finnish Forum for Mediation, who has extensive experience of mediation with young people both in schools and the criminal justice system, supported the practice model, in particular through knowledge of the juvenile restorative justice system in Finland. Monique Anderson, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, also supported the practice model, calling on her experiences with the juvenile restorative justice system in Belgium.

Vol II: Protecting Rights, Restoring Respect and Strengthening Relationships: European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

Toolkit for Professionals: Implementing a European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

Finally, the Toolkit was realised under the direction of the same research team that produced the Model. This final publication was designed to allow for clear and efficient implementation of the principles and methods illustrated in the Model, and is devised for practitioners of restorative justice and justice professionals, in order to diffuse effective practices.

Vol III: Toolkit for Professionals: Implementing a European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

You can access the web section here.

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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

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  • Head Office: Rue Mercelis, nº 50. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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