The Andrews Labor Government is introducing a new inter-agency approach to reduce the amount of contact young people in residential care have with the criminal justice system.
Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan announced the new Framework this week, which aims to reduce criminalisation and improve the outcomes for young people in residential care.
Many young people in residential care have experienced abuse, neglect and trauma, which makes them more likely to present with risk-taking behaviours such as self-harm, aggression, substance abuse and other activities that place them at high risk of contact with police and the youth justice system.
This new framework addresses the need for a collaborative and multi-agency approach to reduce risk of young people in residential care coming into contact the criminal justice system through:
- A decision-making guide for residential care workers when considering the need for police intervention
- Ensuring responses to young people in residential care are trauma-informed and focus on harm minimisation, diversion and alternative approaches to behaviours of concern
- Development of behaviour support plans for all young people in residential care, which aim to reduce the frequency and severity of incidents, and improve relationships between workers and young people
- Workforce training to improve responses to young people’s behaviour and ensure consistent trauma informed approaches when engaging with young people in residential care
- Acknowledging the voices of young people and the importance of connection to community and culture.
The Framework is a collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Victoria Police, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency.
Supporting organisations include Victoria Legal Aid, the Commission for Children and Young People, CREATE Foundation Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance.
For more information visit providers.dhhs.vic.gov.au/program-requirements-out-home-care-services.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan
“An over reliance on police assistance to manage young people’s behaviour can lead to unwarranted criminalisation – this new approach aims to address this head on.”
“The framework will promote positive outcomes for young people, with agencies working together to support some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Victoria.
“Life has already been traumatic for some these young people and we owe it to them to do everything we can, wherever possible, to give them the best chance in life.”