Developing Effective Relationships Between Youth Justice Workers and Young People: A Synthesis of the Evidence
Across a range of human services, youth workers, social workers, therapists, correctional workers, volunteer mentors, foster carers and many others invest a great deal of time and energy in their professional relationships with young people. This is because there is widespread faith in the capacity of ‘the relationship’ to help young people build pro-social skills on the one hand and disengage from antisocial or criminal behaviour on the other.
While the literature is replete with outcome-related evaluations of formal evidence-based programmes, there is not much robust research evidence about what constitutes an effective relationship. To address the evidence gap, the authors of this report conducted a literature review to identify the key features of such relationships and to find out what helps the relationships to thrive, what hinders their development and in what ways they assist young people to change for the better.