Youth Safety: In-Focus

Overrepresented Children Pathfinder Project

Newham’s Pathfinder project tackles disproportionality

Newham Council is working with the Youth Justice Board, the government body responsible for overseeing the youth justice system in England and Wales, to run the Overrepresented Children Pathfinder project. 

The project’s aim is to prevent Black, Asian and other minority ethnic children and young people, who have who been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, from becoming perpetrators or victims in the youth justice system.

The disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities means children and young people from these communities are more likely to have an increased level of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

ACEs are highly stressful, and traumatic, events or situations that occur during childhood and/or adolescence such as bereavement, living in a household where there is addiction, mental illness, domestic violence or financial hardship.

Research shows that these issues have increased as a result of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

A spokesperson for the Pathfinder said: “Studies also show that, if left unaddressed, these traumatic experiences can increase the likelihood of a child or young person becoming involved with the justice system. 

“Through a range of different support services, the Overrepresented Children Pathfinder project can provide help to children, young people and their families as early as possible to overcome these adverse childhood experiences. Services include mentoring, counselling, parenting advice and employment support.”

The project runs until 2023 and although still in its early stages, an independent evaluation of the project so far has found “children and young people are receiving valuable support which builds their resilience and puts them in a stronger position to overcome the challenges they have faced or continue to face as a result of COVID-19”.

The evaluation also reports that parents, carers and families of those engaged in the Pathfinder were more resilient and better able to meet the needs of their children.

Home environments were also reported to be more harmonious, with less tension.

For more information about the Pathfinder project including the referral process, please visit our Newham Council Pathfinder project page.