$9 million to keep our youth on track

The NSW Government has today announced $9 million to extend the highly successful Youth Justice NSW early intervention program, Youth on Track.

Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the Youth on Track program provides support for 10 to 17-year-olds who are at risk of long-term involvement in the criminal justice system.

“This is about giving young people who’ve had a brush with the law the tools to stop them re-offending – and we know it works,” Mr Toole said.

“Since its inception in 2013, the program has supported more than 350 young offenders each year to reduce their risk of reoffending and halved their contact with police.

“The extension will help even more young people right across the state, whether they live in Bingara or Blacktown, get their lives back on track.”

Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services, Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the extension will allow more young people across the state to benefit from the program.

“When a young person comes into contact with the criminal justice system, it is imperative we do everything we can to turn their life around,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

“By intervening early and providing young people with the support they need using a multi-agency approach, we can engage them in education, mental health services, family supports, and behaviour change that help to significantly reduce their risk of reoffending.”

Case managers work closely with young people and their families, identifying triggers and supporting those with behavioural and mental health issues.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the program’s extension will change the lives of many young people in the area.

“It is wonderful to see the extension of such a significant program for our young people in Coffs Harbour,” Mr Singh said.

“Ensuring young offenders in the area receive individualised intervention is vital to empower them to avoid reoffending and make positive decisions.”

Social Futures Acting CEO Katrina Luckie said that the Coffs Harbour region is thrilled at the extension of such an incredible program.

“We have seen great success with this program from young people improving relationships with their families to securing jobs and apprenticeships,” Ms Luckie said.

“We celebrate the extension of Youth on Track to continue providing holistic support and see young people in Coffs Harbour break away from a cycle of offending.”

In addition to Coffs Harbour, Youth on Track operates in the Hunter, Central West, Mid North Coast, New England, Blacktown and Riverina areas. Referrals to the program are made by police, schools and a range of family support services, health and justice services providers.

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