Working with young people in the youth justice system is a challenging area of practice that requires a particular depth of knowledge and skill. It is an increasingly politicized area of social work, with politicians and successive governments seeking to make a visible impact (Johns, 2011), resulting in a rapidly developing body of legislation and national standards for practice. Practitioners are expected to uphold the sometimes conflicting values of both social work and youth justice and also have to balance the potential ethical and moral dilemmas within their work with young people who are involved in offending behaviour. Many of these children and young people will have caused considerable emotional, physical, financial and social harm to others, yet they demonstrate the same needs and are entitled to the same rights as all children.
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