A high-level review of international research on complex needs in children and young people involved in care and youth justice.
Some of the children and young people within the care and youth justice systems have what are described as 'complex needs'. These can include behavioural issues, mental health problems and substance abuse.
In order to ensure a successful, wrap-around care system, we need to understand the factors affecting children and young people involved with care and youth justice systems, what their specific needs look like, and what it is that puts some children at greater risk of developing these complex needs.
We also need to have an up-to-date understanding of the most effective services and therapeutic responses.
This evidence brief focuses on the recognised factors affecting children and young people involved in care and youth justice, specifically complex needs, including behavioural/attachment issues and mental health/substance use issues.
This evidence brief summarises up-to-date, relevant international literature on complex needs in children and young people involved in care and youth justice. Given the nature of the evidence brief it should be considered a general descriptive document to be read in conjunction with referenced sources. It is a time-constrained examination that draws on a limited research base.
This evidence brief is a time-limited examination that draws on a limited research base.
The literature reviewed includes journal articles and grey literature. The majority of sources referenced were provided by Oranga Tamariki.
There's currently limited evidence about what works for children with complex needs.
However, there are a number of common themes in the types of responses to complex needs that have been trialled in other care and youth justice systems.
- preventative and early years interventions
- comprehensive assessment of the child or young person, and their carers
- joined-up or wrap-around services
- attachment-based interventions
- placement stability and appropriately supported carers
- integrated and appropriate aftercare