Source: (2005) Youth Justice. 5(1): 3-16.

This article reviews recent developments in government policy designed to provide an integrated framework for children’s services, in the light of the continuing and long-running debate between principles of welfare and justice. It is noted that at the level of policy, it has repeatedly been argued that responding to the offences of children and providing for their welfare are inseparable. However, this apparent consensus has resulted in a range of different service structures and delivery systems over the years, characterised by ‘turf wars’ amongst policy-makers and practitioners, and unintended consequences in terms of damaging outcomes for children. The article suggests that the most recent policy initiatives from government leave this tension unresolved; and it concludes that alternative rationales need to be developed to inform interventions with children who offend.