On November 26th Hungarian professionals - mostly guardians and child protection workers - have met a second time as part of the EU-funded AWAY project, to discuss diversion and how best to put it in practice. The interactive session included a young person, member of the Child Advisory Group, who told about her own experience in the justice system, as an example of current reality. Professionals also simulated different scenarios of children in conflict with the law.
The event brought up two surprising issues: the first one was that the correctional facility, used as a custodial measure, was actually a place where the young person received a lot of support, and where she had time to reconsider her life and actions, and where she made the decision to change her ways. While custodial measures are not supposed to be in a child's best interest, in this case- and many others, who come into the Special Care Home/Correction Facility, this solution was really in their best interests.
The second one concerns the assessment of professionals of diversion: Budapest area professionals were highly critical of the way diversion was used and really did not see it served the best interests of the children they have been working with: they agreed that if diversion becomes a formalised process and decision, without the special support to be provided to the young person, it becomes an empty promise, one that does not serve the developmental and learning needs of children. This was especially true in cases where children were caught using drugs: these children - in their view - needed much more intensive therapeutical support than what they can get access to, if they are particpiating in diversion.
The two training sessions are being followed by the online course, and a final event in Budapest, on December 14th 2018.