Youth Justice And Child Protection To Come Under One Agency

Youth Justice And Child Protection To Come Under One Agency

Northern Territory Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield

Youth Justice Reforms Take Effect

Victor P Taffa

Northern Territory Government’s plan for improving youth justice took another important step forward with the final transfer of all responsibilities for youth justice and youth detention to Territory Families.

Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield, said that the revised Act ensures young people are dealt with in a manner appropriate for their age, level of maturity and with a key focus on trauma-informed care a principle already endorsed in the Youth Justice Act.

 

“This was a key promise going into the last election and we are doing what we said we would do. Bringing youth justice and child protection under one agency is central to reforming the broken child protection and youth justice systems.” Minister Wakefield said.

“It is crucial to recognise that children are different to adults and much more likely to respond to therapeutic interventions, education and re-engagement in the community. A proactive approach gets better results and helps get kids on the right path.”

9 Senior Youth Outreach and Re-Engagement officers (YOREO’s) were recruited in October 2017 and have completed comprehensive training to equip them to take on the statutory functions of probation and parole officers expanding the capacity of the current YOREO case managements and outreach team. They will work collaboratively with the courts, families and the community to get the best outcomes for young offenders.

“Youth justice system was broken.” Minister Wakefield said.

“We are well on track with reforming the Youth Justice system and implementing the recommendation of the Royal Commission report.”

These recommendations include:

  • Invested $18.2 Million in youth diversion (doubling the previous budget for youth diversion)
  • YOREO’s are in place in each regional centre working with young people and their families keeping kids on track before crime happens and preventing kids when they go off track from reoffending
  • Youth activity and after hours coordinators and after hour plans are in place in Alice Springs and Palmerston
  • Expanded youth victim conferencing
  • Bail support accommodation has commenced in Alice Springs with further beds to open in the near future in both Alice Springs and Darwin.”

Transfer of parole and probation functions from Corrections to Territory Families adds to the Gunner Territory Government’s broader focus on improving bail accountability for young people, providing support and resources to help them meet their bail conditions and divert them from repeat offending and a life of crime.