The Child First Strategy Implementation Project: Translating Strategy Into Practice

Stephen Case*, Ann Browning, Kathy Hampson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The ‘Child First’ guiding principle for practice in the Youth Justice System of England and Wales has a growing international evidence-base and is fully embedded in policy/strategy, yet remains underdeveloped in consistent, coherent practice across local agencies and areas. This raises the potential for a policy–strategy practice implementation gap. Focus-group consultations (n = 11) with professional stakeholder groups (community, custody, strategy, inspectorate, and research) explored perceptions of the practice challenges to understanding, implementing and supporting Child First. Qualitative analysis identified child-centrism, professional relationships and cognisance as pivotal features of the effective realisation of Child First in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalYouth Justice
Early online date30 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2023


  • child first
  • child-centrism
  • cognisance
  • collaboration
  • consultation
  • implementation
  • professional relationships
  • strategy
  • youth justice


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