The Palaszczuk Government has today released its Youth Justice Strategy Action Plan, which outlines the actions being taken across the whole of government to implement Queensland’s first ever Youth Justice Strategy, released in December 2018.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said the Action Plan documented actions which were already in progress, as well as those which would be implemented in future.
“Both Bob Atkinson’s and Major General Stuart Smith’s reports into youth offending made it clear that dealing with youth crime needs cooperation from the whole of government and the community,” she said.
“The Action Plan serves two purposes. It clearly describes actions that government departments have already been and will implement to address the causes of offending and reoffending and break the cycle.
“It also serves as an accountability measure that we can use to report our progress, which is why I will release an updated Action Plan every year.”
Ms Farmer said work on priority actions and initiatives in the Action Plan had already begun, with a historic $332 million investment package announced earlier this year.
“These priority actions, and the Action Plan itself, build on the results our reform agenda has already achieved, with programs like Transition 2 Success and Restorative Justice Conferencing reducing reoffending rates amongst participants,” she said.
Initiatives and actions in the Action Plan align with the Youth Justice Strategy’s four pillars: Intervene early, Keep children out of court, Keep children out of custody, and Reduce re-offending.
“For example, under the Action Plan, the Department of Education will lead an Early Years Plan to support children’s early learning and development, because we know that those first few years of a child’s life set the scene for future learning success,” she said.
“Queensland Health will work with the Department of Youth Justice to better tailor alcohol and drug services to support young people in contact with the Youth Justice system.
“And the Department of Housing and Public Works will work in partnership with Child Safety and Youth Justice to help young people access safe and secure housing.
“Children aren’t born bad, and so we are working to make sure every child gets what they need to grow up safe and cared for.”
The Action Plan also highlights three other significant areas of work:
- working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities to address their children’s disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system
- responding to the different needs of girls and young women
- strengthening infrastructure and providing safe detention and watchhouse environments.
“Supporting families to be strong and safe is the foundational step in reducing youth crime, and we are committed to making sure children and young people in families at risk have their health, wellbeing, safety and education needs met,” Ms Farmer said.
“With the whole of government working together with non-government agencies, businesses and the community, we can change the story for our young people and break the cycle.”
The Youth Justice Strategy Action Plan can be found here: https://www.youthjustice.qld.gov.au/