SA is leading the way in supporting Aboriginal children and young people in the youth justice system with the unveiling of a new Aboriginal Cultural Trail and Connection Space at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre today.
The new, outdoor space is the latest innovative improvement at the centre, which is set to become one of the most modern facilities of its kind thanks to a $18.7 million commitment to upgrade the site, announced in the Marshall Liberal Government’s 2020-21 State Budget.
Working closely on the design with Aboriginal Elders, the space includes natural elements and celebrates Aboriginal culture. Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the new space will become a hub for Aboriginal community members to engage with children and young people at the centre.
“We have created this unique, culturally appropriate space within the centre to showcase Aboriginal culture and encourage both young people and staff to learn more about South Australia’s Aboriginal nations and languages,” said Minister Lensink.
“It will also offer a safe and supportive setting for young people to reflect on the impacts of their offending and help them to stay on the right track in future, as well as include a visiting program for Elders to come into Kurlana Tapa on a regular basis to connect with Aboriginal children and young people and offer ongoing support.
“Aboriginal Elders continue to lead the way in encouraging and supporting Aboriginal children and young people to take pride in their own cultural identity, connections, and heritage.”
Kaurna Narungga Elder Aunty Yvonne Agius visited the site during its development to oversee the cultural relevance and said it will compliment healing, wellbeing and cultural guidance for young Aboriginal people.
“This space will be a great place for Elders to meet with young people and talk about their experiences, their journey, and to provide support and advice,” said Aunty Yvonne Agius.
“The new cultural space is a great way to educate everyone within the centre to become more aware of cultural worldviews within South Australian nation groups.”
The Aboriginal Cultural Trail and Connection Space is one of a number of initiatives under South Australia’s Youth Justice State Plan designed to boost Aboriginal cultural connection and address the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the justice system.
“Better services for young people in the youth justice system will lead to better outcomes for young people, their families, and our community as a whole,” said Minister Lensink.
“This is just one of many positive changes we are making within our youth justice system to ensure we’re better supporting our vulnerable children and young people.”