Page 294 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

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The program is assisting young men to develop independent living skills, engage with their community and the services they need, and encouraging connections with their culture. The young men are expected to participate in employment, education and training programs that will help to secure their future. The service provides a step-down facility from the Bendora through-care unit and it is assisting young men to successfully connect or reintegrate into the community.

We will continue to improve services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people by partnering with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to design, develop and deliver culturally appropriate interventions and intensive, flexible support to high-risk young people.

Mr Assistant Speaker, I am pleased to be able to share this positive progress with the Assembly today. The blueprint for youth justice in the ACT 2012-2022 is a 10-year strategy. Two years in, we are seeing great results. Importantly, young people, their families and our community are all benefiting from the implementation of the blueprint.

Looking ahead, we will be working to strengthen and build upon the reforms already in place. Future work will focus on strengthening early intervention initiatives to address the underlying causes of youth offending, including responding to young people in contact with the child protection system who can be at increased risk of being in contact with the youth justice system.

This work will include the implementation of the “A step up for our kids” out of home care strategy 2015-20 to strengthen early intervention for vulnerable children and young people to reduce risk factors that can be associated with youth offending.

Also, the integration of youth justice and care and protection services will provide earlier intervention and support for young people and families facing issues to prevent escalation into offending behaviour in adolescence. A lead case management approach in the statutory services of youth justice and care and protection will be more personalised and seamless for children, young people and their families

In doing this, our focus will continue to be on early intervention, prevention and diversion. We are ensuring that children and young people in the ACT are receiving the right services, at the right time, for the right duration to ensure that children and young people in the ACT are safe, strong and connected. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (3.48): I welcome the opportunity to speak to this very important topic of youth justice. I thank the minister for his remarks this afternoon. Many of you are aware that I have been interested in this area for many years. In fact, I talked about this very issue in my inaugural speech back in December 2004. I am glad to see that much has been achieved since then in addressing issues around youth justice.

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