YOT Substance Misuse Worker

Substance Misuse Workers are there to provide a specialist service to young offenders, children and their families. They are equipped at dealing with a number of substance misuse issues and variants, ensuring that the needs of young offenders are met.

They report daily to senior management, so the aims and responsibilities of the workers are ultimately spread across the Youth Offending Team. However, their duties are crucial to the intervention programmes of the substance misuse YOT. The position holder’s work splits across a number of work divisions, from project management to social workers to community support officers. Substance misuse workers provide both group and individual intervention sessions.

Their duties include monitoring the progress of other support programmes, addressing a range of needs which vary from case to case, working with and providing assistance to other intervention services administering relative treatment, and identifying those who pose a greater amount of risk to themselves and alerting health authorities as quickly as possible. They are also expected to work in line with parents and clients of the offender, aiding the resolution of certain issues. Prior knowledge of relevant acts and legislation would be desirable, and position holders are expected to develop their understanding of these as well as keeping it current.

Successful candidates would reflect an understanding of the physical, psychological and social effects of substance misuse. Knowledge of the Children and Young Persons Act of 1989 and how substance misuse can correspond with biological development in youths and children would be highly favourable. Substance Misuse Workers are expected to identify situations whereby an offender may end up abusing a substance and the affects that this may have on them. The role requires a great amount of care, understanding and patience for misusers, regardless of their offences.

It is important to notify that entry into the field would require a minimum of an NVQ level 3 in social care (or an equivalent qualification), though a level 4 is becoming increasingly desirable. At least two years working with young people is essential as well as evidence that candidates can work well with other staff and in a setting of substance abuse intervention. Experience of working in or with substance misuse clinics is also desirable.


NVQ level in social care at a level 3 minimum.


At least two years in a related substance misuse role and/or work with youth offenders is essential.


People skills, knowledge of related laws, verbal communication skills, problem solving skills.