Following years of work by NYAS Cymru and the wider ‘Missing the Point’ campaign steering group, Welsh Government has published an All Wales Protocol to reduce the criminalisation of care-experienced children (up to 18 years) and young adults (18 to 25 years).

The ‘Missing the Point’ steering group, founded and chaired by NYAS Cymru in 2019 includes all four Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales, as well as national charities and public bodies. The implementation of a reducing criminalisation protocol has been a core aim of the steering group, supported by all members and facilitated by the 4Cs (Children’s Commissioning Consortium Cymru).

In a written statement from Welsh Government, Minister Jane Hutt and Deputy Minister Julie Morgan said, “We have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of every care-experienced child and young person and to enable them to achieve their ambitions. These responsibilities extend into early adulthood.

“We have already made significant strides in reducing the criminalisation of children and young people in Wales. However, although the vast majority of children who are care-experienced do not get involved with the justice system, where this does happen, we need to make sure that we continue to fulfil our obligations to them.

“The protocol will help those who come into contact with care-experienced children and young adults while carrying out their work, in sharing a common framework of principles and expectations informed by an approach that actively promotes children’s rights and which safeguards and promotes their wellbeing.”

Sharon Lovell, NYAS Cymru Chief Executive, said, “I am delighted to see the publication of the All Wales Protocol for reducing the criminalisation of care-experienced children and young people. NYAS Cymru have been instrumental in developing this work with colleagues across the sector who form part of our national ‘Missing the Point’ steering group, which aims to create a child’s rights approach to policing and reducing criminalisation for care-experienced children and young people.”

The protocol is for both devolved and non-devolved organisations in Wales and is jointly published with the UK Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

NYAS Cymru looks forward to working with Welsh Government to support the implementation of the protocol and to secure better outcomes for care-experienced children and young adults in Wales.