THE SCOTTISH Government is coming under fire for 'rolling back' on its promises to protect vulnerable children after the impending closure of two services in Glasgow.

The James Shields centre, run by Quarriers, and the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice's IVY project both announced they would be shutting over funding and accommodation problems.

IVY, funded by the Scottish Government, works with high-risk young people, many of whom have come from traumatic backgrounds and have committed serious violent or sexual crimes, to try and break the cycle of offending and prevent them committing future crimes.

James Shields provides accommodation and support for people aged 16-25, many of whom have come from care, have had difficult upbringings and who have been left without any family support.

The Scottish Government's Getting It Right for Every Child scheme puts focus on early intervention, to help children with adverse experiences to overcome their problems and give them a better chance in life.

Justice Minister Humza Yousaf has also spoken of 'smart justice', and providing community alternatives to prison sentences for offenders,

The Lib Dems have now written to Yousaf over the IVY closure, saying it goes against these commitments and could cause "real harm".

The project is based at Strathclyde University within the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice which has been deemed no longer appropriate as a venue for the scheme. Its closure was announced in July.

Lib Dem justice spokesman Liam McArthur wrote to Yousaf earlier this month, stating: "Those with whom IVY currently works are likely to find themselves left within the adult criminal justice system, which is not geared up to manage the risks effectively. I believe that if this is allowed to happen, real harm will result.

"You have often maintained your desire to pursue smart justice, as opposed to the populist approach that so often results from the reporting of serious crimes. In this instance, I believe you are presented with an opportunity to follow through on that claim. The IVY programme appears to be the epitome of smart justice."

Staff working at the James Shields centre have also raised concerns about the impact of their projects' closure on vulnerable young people.

One employee told the Herald on Sunday: "There is no clear plan for what will happen to the young service users. There has been a suggestion they will all get moved to their own homes, but there's no focus on the other support they need.

"We not only give them a roof over their head, we help with mental health problems, addiction issues, finances, benefits, careers advice. We try and show them how to live on their own. The people we have now, they're not ready to go to their own flats, they wouldn't be able to manage it.

"It's completely short-sighted. A lot of these kids have come from foster care or residential homes too, and we know they need more support. Nicola Sturgeon said that the government would be helping more with children coming from care, but this decision doesn't really fit in with that."

The James Shields project is run by charity Quarriers, which was told by Glasgow City Council that the lease on the building hosting the project would not be renewed and funding was being withdrawn.

After initially giving a closure date of October, it has now been extended until January 23.

Quarriers said: “We, along with officers from Glasgow City Council, have met with the young people affected to explain the situation.

“As with all local authority contracts concerned with the delivery of social care, Quarriers James Shields Service is reviewed on a regular basis.

"We very much value the positive outcomes that have been achieved with young people, delivered by an outstanding staff team.

"We remain extremely proud of the service and are fully committed to supporting the 37 young people in our care as well as our 28 staff."

A Glasgow city council spokeswoman said: “The service is no longer appropriate for the young people that use it, both in terms of its scale and the very dated environment it provides.

"We are, instead, committed to supporting people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, in their own tenancies or in more appropriate, smaller scale supported living arrangements.

“We have been in discussions with Quarriers about the future of this service for around 18 months. We are working closely with them and each of the young people using the service to ensure they are supported as they move on to more appropriate accommodation. The new arrangements is about providing more appropriate accommodation. In some cases, that will be a tenancy of their own (with support) and in others it will be supported accommodation on a smaller scale in buildings that are fit for purpose.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The IVY project and the James Shield centre are totally unrelated issues.

“We are continuing to support partners delivering IVY to seek alternative arrangements for the service in the future. The James Shield centre is a matter for Glasgow City Council who have made clear that the service is no longer appropriate for the young people who use it and who are being fully supported as they move on to more appropriate accommodation.

“The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to improving the life chances of all young people with adverse experiences of childhood or who are care experienced – as evidenced by the independent Care Review, which is centred on directly hearing the views of young people with experience of care.”