Leading Schools and Sustaining Innovation: Reflections from Dr Luke

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Case Study

Young People with Care Experience: Journy Through The Criminal Justice System

System solutions identified by Resolve and championed by Spectra included the use of restorative practice to create a more empathetic experience when professionals engage with young people with care experience.


SpectraConnect which are the UK government’s chosen provider for overseeing the Care Leaver Covenant, which is a national inclusion programme for 16 to 25 years leaving care to encourage support for this group by public, private and voluntary sectors.

The CEO of SpectraConnect set Resolve Consultants the task of understanding the journey of young people through the criminal justice system. The findings of this mapping exercise would be present to a cross-ministerial meeting to support the implementation of system change.

Resolve Consultants has up until this point only conducted internal organisational maps within sectors. This challenge was significant as it requires understanding the perspectives of multiple sectors and professionals. Furthermore, the views of young people and adults with care experiences needed to be captured in a way that honoured their lived experience without re-enforcing narratives of victimisation.

Stakeholder engagement used the snow-ball methodology to gain access to additional professionals as well as from the support SpectraConnect in identifying other professionals and young people who would be willing to share their views and experiences.

The stakeholder analysis started to present a very powerful metaphor which was of a “Cliff Edge” this metaphor emerged in conversations and was tested with other stakeholders. From the insights it was clear that they system prior to 18 had a high adult ratio for a young person, yet very little empathy. Whereas, from the moment of turning 18, young people with care experience are expected to be fully functioning adults with the ability to understand legal, financial, and emotional decision making. The “Cliff Edge” represents a harsh boundary shift in service provision, support and identity which means that they can become quickly disadvantaged in terms of health and socio-economic opportunities.

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