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Youth Justice Community Support Service

What is the Youth Justice Community Support Service?

The Youth Justice Community Support Service (YJCSS) provides integrated and intensive support and services to young people involved with the youth justice service to complement case management undertaken by youth justice workers. 

The service has been developed recognising that young people involved with youth justice present with a range of complex and varied needs that require a service response that is tailored to their circumstances.

The service commenced operations in metropolitan areas in October 2008 and rural areas from February 2009.

The Youth Justice Community Support Service aims to:

  • reduce severity, frequency and rates of re-offending by young people and minimise their progression into the criminal justice system
  • better service young people in their local communities and facilitate their transition from the youth justice service system to their local community service system
  • better prepare young people for adulthood by developing their independence, resilience and pro-social connectedness to family and community
  • develop young people's capacity for meaningful educational and economic participation.

Through new funding and partnership arrangements between community service organisations, the Youth Justice Community Support Service provides a broad range of service to better meet the needs of young people and deliver better outcomes at a local level.

Key features of the Youth Justice Community Support Service

The service requires that organisations partner strategically in each region to provide a range of services that can be accessed by a single access point tailored to meet the individual needs of each young person referred. 

The Youth Justice Community Support Service provides the following services:

  • intensive case work support to assist young people to not reoffend and to connect with family, education, training, employment and community
  • integrated access and supported referrals to a wide range of services including drug and alcohol, mental health and health service, housing, education, training, culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal services available through Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations. 
  • Transitional housing and support via the Transitional Housing Management - Youth Justice Housing pathways Initiative (THM-YJHPI), which has been integrated into the Youth Justice Community Support Service and provides transitional housing properties, assistance and housing outreach support for young people.

Outcomes for young people and the service

Outcomes for young people

The Youth Justice Community Support Service is designed to provide access to services that are focused on:

  • reducing recidivism
  • improving compliance with court orders
  • improving connection with family, significant others and peers
  • providing access to housing and developing independent living skills
  • engaging with health and mental health services
  • providing access to income support
  • addressing alcohol and other drug use
  • providing education, training and employment
  • improving engagement with community and culture.

Outcomes for the service

The Youth Justice Community Support Service is designed to ensure that service access and delivery for young people involved with the youth justice system are provided in an integrated and coordinated manner at a local level with a high level of collaboration and a 'care-team' approach between youth justice and community service organisations. 

Processes for the prioritisation and eligibility of young people for services operate within each local area, providing flexibility and responsiveness to the individual needs of the young person and local demands. 

Referral process

Referrals to the Youth Justice Community Support Service are initiated by the community based youth justice worker as part of the case planning process. The youth justice worker discusses the nature of the referral with the young person and gains their consent for referral to the program.

Referral pathway for youth justice custodial services staff to local service areas

Communication between youth justice community based and custodial workers must occur when considering referrals to community services.

Young people in custody requiring post release support (including parole eligible, remissions and remand clients) will be identified for referral to the Youth Justice Community Support Service through the youth justice case planning and parole planning process, with the custodial unit coordinator discussing the case with the allocated community based youth justice worker. If appropriate, the community based youth justice worker will then initiate the referral to the Youth Justice Community Support Service as prescribed by each local area.

Referrals to the Youth Justice Community Support Service for young people in custody should be initiated in a timely manner as part of the exit planning process, to ensure that young people can, where possible, establish links with post release support services prior to their release from custody.

In instances where there is a young person in custody without an allocated community based youth justice worker, or where a referral has not proceeded, the custodial unit coordinator should contact the relevant local Youth Justice General Manager (or delegate) to discuss the referral process. 

Young people involved in the youth justice system not receiving support through the Youth Justice Community Support Service

The Youth Justice Community Support Service is funded as an intensive service response, with set targets per consortium. If a case is not assessed as appropriate or prioritised for the Youth Justice Community Support Service, alternate service provision will be considered as per case management and case planning processes. This may involve youth justice workers making direct referrals to the broader service system and other funded services.

Young people in need of homelessness assistance

For young people who cannot the dedicated transitional housing support through the THM-YJHPI, consultation with the Youth Justice Homeless Assistance Service (YJHA) can be undertaken. This service is managed by VincentCare and YJHA workers provide specialist housing assistance to clients and secondary consultation to youth justice centres and community based youth justice workers in order to explore and develop early housing pathways while young people are in custody.

Case management and case planning

Youth justice has non-delegable obligations to take reasonable care responsibility of statutory clients.

Youth justice will retain full statutory supervision and case management responsibilities, and will continue to provide direct and ongoing casework interventions in relation to offending behaviour for the duration of statutory orders.

This integrated model of service delivery will promote a care-team approach, with Youth Justice Community Support Service providers providing an additional service component that complements and supports youth justice case management, casework and case coordination.

Given the high needs and/or high risk behaviours of young people involved in the youth justice system, Youth Justice Community Support Service corsortia utilise assertive and creative engagement approaches and provide sustained, enduring support. This is particularly important where a young person's circumstances indicate that disengagement from the service may lead to further offending and subsequent contact with the youth justice system. 

Where appropriate the Youth Justice Community Support Service also provides capacity to support the young person beyond the duration of statutory supervision and, where urgent assistance is required, provide some out of hours support to young people on statutory orders.

Implementation and monitoring of the Youth Justice Community Support Service

A central Youth Justice Community Support Service reference is coordinated by the Youth Justice Division. This reference group leads the development and implementation of the Youth Justice Community Support Service model, monitors progress and addresses emerging issues. Local implementation groups have also been established to monitor local implementation of the model and referral pathways. 

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander flags

The department acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.