A vision to reduce offending and provide life-changing opportunities.


Jump to:

  • What we do
  • Why work in youth justice?
  • Help us create change from the inside out
  • Youth justice – 2023 and beyond
  • Learn more

What we do

‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is a famous proverb. For children and young people in youth justice precincts (young people), youth justice workers form part of that village.

As youth justice workers, we empower children and young people to steer their lives in a more positive direction. We act as role models by:

  • establishing healthy routines and working to a daily structure
  • redirecting anti-social and challenging behaviour to the positive standards expected by the community
  • engaging young people in education through ongoing encouragement and mentoring
  • helping young people to develop positive family and peer relationships
  • facilitating support from other services such as health and mental health providers, educators, and disability organisations
  • creating safe and supportive environments.

The challenges we deal with

Many studies show that children and young people can make significant and lasting behavioural changes. However, they also have less capacity to regulate their emotions or understand the consequences of their decisions.

Youth justice workers navigate this challenge by constantly keeping in mind the other factors that can influence children and young people’s behaviour in the moment. These factors include:

  • disrupted education
  • unstable housing
  • alcohol and drug misuse
  • abusive family environments
  • history of contact with child protection.

We follow a set of core custodial operating principles that form the basis of all our interactions with the children and young people in our care. These ensure we provide services that are coordinated to support rehabilitation and reduce the risk of reoffending.

By understanding that children and young people may have grown up in challenging settings and have complex needs, we can support them to move beyond the justice system and provide genuine opportunities to turn their lives around. 

The department’s focus on diversion has seen the rate of youth offender incidents in Victoria fall almost 35 per cent since 2010. Over the same period, the number of alleged youth offender incidents has fallen by more than 26 per cent.

This is evident in the reduction in children and young people supervised year-on-year, which is down by more than 20 per cent in the community and 15 per cent across the system during the past five years.  

Back to top

Two male youth justice workers and a young person walking and talking together.

Why work in youth justice?

If you are interested in working with children and young people and making a difference, becoming a youth justice worker is the ideal place to start.

Here’s why: 

  • It’s truly unique and rewarding work – you will experience the satisfaction of seeing small but important shifts in behaviour or attitudes, which you have helped influence.
  • We have diversity in work and people – you will achieve personal and career growth by working intensively with different groups of young people and youth justice teams.
  • We are a dynamic and forward-thinking organisation – by being part of the youth justice sector, you will be part of progressive approaches to the rehabilitation of young people
  • You will enjoy learning and development – your professional development starts from day one and will extend to a fully-funded Certificate IV in Youth Justice. On completion, youth justice workers at Parkville receive a salary increase and continued professional development throughout their career.
    At Cherry Creek, your induction program (which also includes a fully-funded Certificate IV in Youth Justice) will help you achieve positive therapeutic outcomes with young people. You will also have a fortnightly crossover day to give you easier access to training and supervision.
  • We provide opportunities to grow your career – you will discover a wealth of career pathways, including team leadership, case management, cultural support and policy-based work. You will also be supervised by leaders in the field.
  • It’s a secure job – together with annual pay increases and five weeks of paid annual leave, the work you will do is critical to the ongoing safety of Victoria.
  • You will have access to our Employee Wellbeing Program, including on-site clinical support, staff mentoring and a peer support network.
  • You will be empowered to perform your role – there are safe systems of work across youth justice operations and a strong culture of workplace safety. 

Find out more about the future of youth justice by reading our strategic plan.

Back to top

Help us create change from the inside out

Youth justice works with police, government and community support services to address underlying causes of offending. As part of this, you will help guide children and young people through their education, programs and daily lives to help them create a better future for themselves.

While care, supervision, safety and support form the foundation of the role, you will also need strong interpersonal and communication skills. We look for people who are:

  • Passionate about working with children and young people – you strive to engage and empower them to change their lives for the better.
  • Dedicated and resilient – you are committed to following procedures, can deal with confronting situations and thrive on challenges.
  • Proactive – you are constantly thinking of new ways to solve problems and address issues.

If you are mature and open-minded, your life experiences will enable you to connect and communicate with young people from many different backgrounds. Working intensively with children and young people every day means there’s no end to what you can learn and how you can grow in your career. 

three people walking on youth justice precinct

Back to top

Youth justice – 2023 and beyond

Youth justice is a complex and essential part of the community and central to the government’s commitment to improving the futures of children and young people. It’s a sector that is also constantly innovating. When you join Youth Justice, you are at the centre of the action in an organisation that keeps pace with global best-practice.

The past few years have seen a period of transformation for youth justice in Victoria. Our state-of-the-art facility at Cherry Creek will promote security through positive relationships and offer more specialised support to address complex and challenging needs.

Discover more about the youth justice centre at Cherry Creek.

Back to top

Learn more

You may need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader or Libre Office to view the document(s) on this page.

Get Adobe® Acrobat® Reader (External link)

Get Libre Office (External link)

Apply now

Learn more about becoming a youth justice worker

Join one of our regular information sessions for intakes at Cherry Creek and Parkville Youth Justice Precincts. 

Learn more about youth justice, the role of a youth justice worker and hear from current staff.

View upcoming sessions