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New programme to focus on young people on bail

Tue, 8 Jun 2004

New programme to focus on young people on bail

A targeted bail programme offering better support for young people while on bail was announced by Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson today.

The pilot programme will provide intensive community-based support and services, such as activity-based day programmes, for young people on remand for alleged offending. It will also assist families to improve the supervision and monitoring of young people.

"The government has approved $3.037 million over three years for the pilot, which will focus on young people who are at high risk of breaching their bail conditions and being remanded into a custodial facility," Ruth Dyson said.

"Judges are often faced with having to remand young people to residences because of a lack of support for them in the community, and the supported bail pilot will provide a credible alternative.

"A similar programme has been operating in Queensland with favourable results. It means young people can be placed back into a structured positive social activity programme coupled with supports and services to assist their families to better manage their behaviour and monitor their activities.

"The supported bail programme should also encourage better compliance with with post-Family Group Conference or court sanctions and rehabilitation because the young people involved will already have had a taste of what is required of them," she said.

The pilot is part of a shift by Child, Youth and Family towards rehabilitation and support for remanded young people and their families, rather than containment.

"It is important that the community has confidence that young people will be held accountable for their actions. What it means is that some young people on bail will be more actively monitored, supervised and deliberately engaged in meaningful activity than is currently the case.

"Residences may continue to provide the most appropriate services for those remanded children and young people who are assessed as of being high risk of absconding or posing risks to themselves or the community," Ruth Dyson said.

Child, Youth and Family will finalise the details for the pilot and identifying providers over the next six months.

The pilot starts in January 2005 and will involve four providers in the first year (delivering services to 60 young people on remand) increasing to six providers in the 2006 and 2007 (delivering services to 120 young people on remand each year).

A full evaluation will be carried out, with a report-back to government Ministers on the scheme's effectiveness in December 2006.

Currently the majority of placements in youth justice residences are for remands. Children and young people on remand account for between 60-75 per cent of all youth justice residential bed nights.


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