Assisted visits: guide for youth offending teams and establishments

How youth offending teams (YOTs) can process claims to cover the cost of family visits to relatives in secure children's homes and Oakhill secure training centre.


You must process all applications for financial help under the assisted visits scheme.

Visitors to young people in under-18 young offender institutions may be able to get help through the Assisted Prison Visits Unit run by the Prison Service.

Managing expense claims for a visit to a secure children’s home or Oakhill secure training centre (STC)

Visitors making claims for visits to sentenced children in a secure children’s home or Oakhill secure training centre must make them through the home or centre directly and read the Information for Relatives.

The home or centre is responsible for providing parents or carers of children with information on assisted visits and for ensuring they have the relevant forms.

Read the guidance document for YOTs (AVS3) for more information

Visitors making claims for visits to secure children’s homes must make them through their assigned YOT and have read the information for relatives document AVS1.

Visitors apply for financial help by completing an assisted visits scheme claim form (AVS2). If it’s correct, you should pay the parents or carers in cash or by cheque before claiming back the costs from the Youth Custody Service (YCS).

When the AVS2 form is filled out, you need to:

  1. Check the claim form (including the authenticity of the person making the claim).
  2. Pay the person making the claim.
  3. Check that the relevant receipts and tickets are attached and that the correct rates and mileage amounts are claimed.
  4. Complete an assisted visits scheme form(AVS4) for each young person being visited. You can use the form for more than one visit to an offender although a separate AVS2 claim form will need to be completed for each trip.

If you booked tickets for visitors before the visit, just follow step 4.

You must make sure that you send the completed documents to YCS within 28 days of the visit. You must also keep copies of the forms, tickets and receipts on the case file.

Managing expense claims for a visit to Oakhill secure training centre (STC)

There’s a slightly different process for relatives making claims for visits to secure training centres.

Usually, parents / carers complete the assisted visits scheme claim form(AVS2) and return it to the STC they visited within 28 days. However, in cases of hardship you can decide to make the payment up front and claim it back from the STC.

If you do this, you must follow the same steps for visitors to secure children’s homes except you’ll need to copy or scan the signed claim form then post or email it as an attachment to the STC visited (with receipts if available).

For more information:

Published 9 October 2014
Last updated 17 October 2023 + show all updates
  1. Paragraph on expense claims for a visit to a SCH or STC amended.

  2. First published.