Bridgend Youth Justice lead practitioner receives coveted commendation in ‘Oscars’ equivalent for the sector

The positive impact of Debbie Jones, Trauma Lead Practitioner in the Bridgend Youth Justice Service, permeates the lives of an endless number of children, as well as those of her colleagues – a gift which has been recognised through her coveted commendation from the Butler Trust Awards, described as the ‘Oscars’ for the custodial and community justice sector.

Nominated by Christa Bonham Griffiths, Service Manager at Bridgend Youth Justice Service, Debbie will collect her commendation at the Butler Trust Award Ceremony, hosted by the Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, in March 2024.


Debbie has been instrumental in developing trauma practice across the Cwm Taf region, from creating a trauma screening tool to ensure children receive timely support and have their voice heard, to developing an interactive and bilingual ‘My Voice’ system, which allows the service to capture the voice of the child in their words.

The innovation of the trauma lead practitioner does not end there – a Jamboard system, introduced to the service by Debbie, allows multi agency professionals to create a plan that responds to the child’s needs and avoids repetition, as workers can prioritise who is best to work with the child, in relation to where they may be in the stages of recovery from their trauma.


Finally, Debbie has enabled the service to successfully bid for Youth Endowment Funding for the ‘Relationship Building Together’ (RBT) initiative.  The project, the first of its kind of this scale, evaluates how services using the Trauma Recovery Model (TRM) can benefit those children affected by trauma.  The RBT scheme is one of only four successful projects across England and Wales, and the only initiative in Wales, to secure funding through the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) via its Trauma-Informed Practice Funding Round, co-funded by the Home Office.


Christa says of her colleague: “Deb is one of the best team players I have ever had the pleasure of managing. She has helped team members consider ideas for engagement of complex children and is always willing to share positive practice and bring others on.

“She is selfless in her working, she is committed beyond her role and responsibility, she sees the strengths in others, is willing to go above and beyond and to try, try, and try again, to pick up the pieces when needed and she is clearly loved by all those that come into contact with her.

“In my 20 years of Youth Justice Service management, I have never come across such a wonderful person and practitioner as her…I have never ever heard her be anything but positive when it comes to the complex work Youth Justice practice can bring.”


When asked about the motivation behind her meaningful role, Debbie said: “As a trauma lead in the Bridgend Youth Justice Service, my motivation is deeply rooted in a commitment to making a meaningful impact on the lives of children who have experienced trauma.

“My passion is for helping children navigate the complex challenges associated with trauma. Witnessing the resilience and potential for positive change in children is incredibly inspiring. I believe in their capacity to overcome adversity, and my role allows me to play a part in their healing and recovery journey.

“Lastly, my motivation extends to the broader impact on community well-being. I see my role not only as influencing individual lives but also contributing to the overall health of the community. By supporting young people in overcoming trauma, I believe we foster a more positive and resilient community.


Debbie continues:

“Receiving the Butler Trust Award is an absolute honour. The award represents not only personal achievement, but also a collective acknowledgment of the importance of trauma-informed care and rehabilitation efforts…Receiving the Butler Trust Award is not just a milestone in my career, but recognition for the whole Bridgend Youth Justice Service team who persist in doing work for the wellbeing of those in the custodial and community justice settings.”


Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “As a local authority, we are so very lucky to have Debbie Jones working for our children, striving for the best for them, acting as their champion.

“We thank you, Debbie, and are so very grateful for your efforts, which are so very deserving of this sought after recognition from the Butler Trust Awards.”


Image: Debbie Jones (left) and Christa Bonham Griffiths.

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