For the last two years YMCA Scotland, has been further developing its Early Intervention programmes including Plusone mentoring, but has also been looking at how a more “preventative” approach can engage with children (8-14) either as a mentoring approach (Aspire Mentoring) or within existing youth work settings. Both Early Intervention and targeted Prevention work seeks to identify the potential risks in a child/young person that may lead to future involvement in the justice system however targeted Prevention will seek to identify emerging risk factors at a stage earlier than Early intervention and will have a clear focus of asset building and the positive potential of the child/young person with less focus on risks and problem behaviour.
Research has identified factors in children and young people’s lives associated with an increased risk of problems at school, criminal behaviour and drug and alcohol misuse. A preventative approach centres on building trusting relationships with these young people to help them bring about change and build resilience. Five local YMCAs Edinburgh, Renfrew, Kirkcaldy, Tollcross and Dumfries have been piloting preventative approaches within their existing youth work programmes.