The McGowan Government is launching a major expansion of its highly successful Target 120 program to help steer at-risk youth away from the criminal justice system.
An additional $11.1 million in the 2022-23 State Budget will see the program rolled out in nine additional locations – Broome, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby, Karratha, Newman, Carnarvon, Mandurah and Ellenbrook.
Target 120 supports young people aged between 10 and 14 who are at risk of becoming repeat offenders and becoming lost to the criminal justice system.
Since its inception in 2018, the program has been linked to better outcomes for participants, with half of those not reoffending since their commencement in the program.
The program focuses on high-risk young people who have had multiple interactions with police but have not yet been sentenced to detention.
As part of the initiative, community youth workers interact closely with young people and their families to identify their goals and develop individualised support plans.
The program helps create safer and more connected communities by tackling factors that increase chances of offending, including substance abuse, lack of housing, domestic violence, trauma, mental health issues and poor attendance at school.
The additional 2022-23 State Budget investment builds on the $20.4 million already invested in the program by the McGowan Government.
Target 120 commenced in 2018 in Bunbury and Armadale, and has since progressed to Kalgoorlie, Kununurra, Northam, Albany, Port Hedland, Mirrabooka, Geraldton, Rockingham and Midland.
Target 120 is a cross-government program that works closely with the community and is delivered by local Aboriginal community controlled organisations wherever possible.
As stated by Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk:
“Target 120 has proven to be extremely successful in supporting our most at-risk children. Around half of the young people involved have had no further contact with police.
“This additional $11.1 million investment will fund a significant expansion of the program to nine sites across the State – helping to build safer communities.
“Target 120 focuses on high-risk young people who have already had contact with police and works intensively with them and their families to help turn their lives around.
“The McGowan Government is committed to improving the lives of young people at risk of becoming repeat offenders and getting lost in the justice system.”