Youth Justice Community Support Service

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What is the YJCSS?

The Youth Justice Community Support Service (YJCSS) is an integrated approach to the provision of intensive support and services to Youth Justice clients to complement the statutory case management undertaken by Youth Justice units. The service has been developed recognising that Youth Justice clients present with a range of complex and varied needs that require an individualised service response.

The YJCSS commenced operations in metropolitan areas in October 2008 and rural areas from February 2009.

The YJCSS aims to achieve the following:

  • Reduce the severity, frequency and rates of re-offending; and minimise progression into the criminal justice system.
  • Better service clients in their local community and facilitate their transition from the Youth Justice service system to their local community service system.
  • Better prepare clients for adulthood by developing their independence, resilience and pro-social connectedness to family and community.
  • Better develop a Youth Justice clients’ capacity for meaningful educational and economic participation.
  • Through new funding and partnership arrangements between community service organisations, the YJCSS provides a broad range of services to better meet the needs and deliver outcomes for Youth Justice clients at a local level.

Key features of the YJCSS

The YJCSS requires that organisations partner strategically in each division to provide a range of services that can be accessed by a single access point tailored to meet the individual needs of each young person referred. The YJCSS provides the following services:

  • Intensive case work support; to assist young people to lead non-offending lives to connect to family, education, training, employment and community
  • Integrated access and supported referrals; to a wide range of services both within consortia and the broader service system including drug and alcohol, mental health and health services, housing, education, training, culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal specific services
  • Transitional housing and support; The Transitional Housing Management - Youth Justice Housing Pathways Initiative (THM-YJHPI) has been integrated into the YJCSS, providing transitional housing properties, assistance and housing outreach support for eligible Youth Justice clients

Client and service system outcomes

Client outcomes

The YJCSS is designed to provide access to services that are focussed on the outcomes for the young person in relation to the following areas:

  • recidivism
  • compliance with justice order
  • family/significant others/peers
  • housing/independent living skills
  • health/ mental health
  • financial support
  • alcohol and other drug use
  • health
  • education/employment/training
  • engagement with community and culture

Service system outcomes

The YJCSS is designed to ensure that service access and service delivery for Youth Justice clients is provided in an integrated and coordinated manner at a local level with a high level of collaboration and a ‘care-team’ approach between Youth Justice and community service organisations.

Target group

The target group for the YJCSS is made up of two sub-groups. A youth justice client may be referred as part of either or both of these sub-groups.

Youth Justice clients requiring intensive support services

The YJCSS is funded as an intensive service response to support Youth Justice case management primarily for young people assessed as requiring a high to intensive level of intervention. This includes Youth Justice clients on the full range of community based orders (probation, youth supervision order, youth attendance order) and those exiting custody requiring post release support (parole or remissions). In some circumstances, the department may determine that pre-sentence clients may be appropriate to be referred to the YJCSS due to their unique needs and lack of alternative support options.

Youth Justice clients requiring transitional housing and support through the THM-YJHPI

The target group also includes Youth Justice clients assessed as eligible for transitional housing and support as part of the THM-YJHPI. The primary target group for the THM-YJ HPI is young people aged 17 and over leaving Youth Justice centres on parole. To be eligible for the THM-YJ HPI, young people must have a history of homelessness and/or be at risk of homelessness, and have the potential to live independently. Other young people outside the primary target group may also be eligible for accommodation and support as per nomination guidelines.

Due to the complexity of needs, transitional housing may not be an appropriate option for all Youth Justice clients requiring accommodation. However, in some instances, the YJCSS provides the capacity to support more vulnerable young people into transitional housing through the provision of additional support that is more intensive and holistic than previously provided through the THM-YJHPI model, strengthening the capacity for more complex young people to access this part of the service and to be supported to live independently.

Processes for the prioritisation and eligibility of clients operate within each local area, providing flexibility and responsiveness to individual needs of the young person and local demands.

Referral process

Referrals to the YJCSS are initiated by the community based Youth Justice worker as part of the case planning process. The Youth Justice worker discusses the nature of the referral with the young person and gains their consent to refer the young person to the program. All referrals to the YJCSS must be endorsed by the relevant local area Youth Justice team manager (or delegate) before proceeding.

The exchange of information between the department and YJCSS consortia must comply with the provisions of the Department of Human Services Information Privacy Policy.

For more information see the Department of Human Services privacy policy.

Referral pathway for Youth Justice custodial services staff to local service areas

Communication between Youth Justice community based and custodial workers must occur when considering referrals to community services.

Youth Justice clients in custody requiring post release support (including parole eligible, remissions and remand clients) will be identified for referral to the YJCSS through the Youth Justice case planning and parole planning process, with the custodial unit coordinator discussing the case with the allocated community based Youth Justice worker. If appropriate, the community based Youth Justice worker will then initiate the referral to YJCSS as prescribed by each local area.

Referrals to the YJCSS for young people in custody should be initiated in a timely manner as part of the exit planning process, to ensure that young people can, where possible, establish links with post release support services prior their release from custody.

In instances where there is a young person in custody without an allocated community based youth justice worker, or where a referral has not proceeded, the custodial unit coordinator should contact the relevant local Individual and Family Support Manager (or delegate) to discuss the referral process.

Youth Justice clients not receiving support through YJCSS

The YJCSS is funded as an intensive service response, with set targets per consortium. If a case is not assessed as appropriate or prioritised for YJCSS service, alternate service provision will be considered as per case management and case planning processes. This may involve Youth Justice workers making direct referrals to the broader service system and other funded services.

Youth Justice clients in need of homelessness assistance

For young people who cannot access the dedicated transitional housing and support through the THM-YJHPI, consultation with the Youth Justice Homeless Assistance service (YJHA) can be utilised. This service is managed by VincentCare and YJHA workers provide specialist housing assistance to clients and secondary consultation to Youth Justice centres and community based Youth Justice workers in order to explore and develop early housing pathways whilst young people are in custody.

Case management and case planning

Youth Justice has non-delegable obligations to take reasonable care responsibility of statutory clients.

Youth Justice will retain full statutory supervision and case management responsibilities, and will continue to provide direct and ongoing casework interventions in relation to offending behaviour for the duration of statutory orders.

This integrated model of service delivery will promote a care-team approach, with YJCSS agencies providing an additional service component that complements and supports Department of Human Services Youth Justice case management, casework and case coordination.

Given the high needs and/or high risk behaviours of the Youth Justice client group, YJCSS consortia utilise assertive and creative engagement approaches and provide sustained, enduring support. This is particularly important where a young person’s circumstances indicate that disengagement from the service may lead to further offending and subsequent contact with the Youth Justice system.

Where appropriate the YJCSS also provides capacity to support the young person beyond the duration of statutory supervision and, where urgent assistance is required, provide some out of hours support to young people on statutory orders.

Implementation and monitoring of the YJCSS

A central YJCSS reference is coordinated by the Youth Justice and Disability Forensic unit, Statutory and Forensic Services, Service Design and Implementation Group. This reference group has led the development and implementation of the YJCSS model and will continue to provide advice, monitor progress, and address emerging issues. Local implementation groups have also been established to monitor local implementation of the model and referral pathways.

The Department of Human Services engaged an independent company (Synergistiq) to evaluate the YJCSS completed in March 2013. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the ongoing viability of the YJCSS as a successful, efficient and effective program and refine the program to improve outcomes for young offenders residing in the community.

Contact information

Youth Justice & Disability Forensic Unit
Tel: 9096-7973

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