Australia’s welfare 2017 is the 13th biennial welfare report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). This comprehensive report provides an overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of areas such as children youth and families, education and employment, and ageing, disability and informal care. Findings relating to children and young people show that the number of out of home care placements is climbing, while the number of young people under youth justice supervision is on the decline.

Beyond borders: How to make the global compacts on migration and refugees work for uprooted children

Youth Justice

The rights, protection and wellbeing of migrant and refugee children should be central commitments of global migration policies, UNICEF has said in a new report. The report outlines best practice for children’s care and protection, and includes case studies of governments and communities working to support and integrate them and their families. Key themes include keeping families together, keeping refugee and migrant children learning, and combatting discrimination. The case studies are diverse, spanning across country income levels, and can be replicated in different contexts around the world.

Helping young children who have experienced trauma: Policies and strategies for early care and education

Education, Youth Justice, Early years, Mental Health, Safety and wellbeing, Practice Tool

This National Centre for Children in Poverty (NCCP) paper presents an overview of early childhood trauma, the impact it has on young children and brain development and promising strategies for trauma-informed care in early care and education. Along with high quality programming, strong policy is crucial to meeting the emotional and early learning needs of children who have experienced trauma. The NCCP makes a series of recommendations to better support access to quality, trauma-informed early care and education.

Investing in communities not prisons

Youth Justice

The Victorian youth justice advocacy coalition, Smart Justice for Young People (SJ4YP), has published a report aimed at strengthening the understanding of a justice reinvestment approach and exploring how it might be implemented in Victoria. Justice reinvestment is an approach to the criminal justice system that redirects funding away from incarcerating people in youth detention and towards community-based initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of crime. This report looks at case studies of justice reinvestment in the US, New Zealand and Europe.

Media Release: Building a Stronger and More Secure Youth Justice System

Youth Justice

The responsibility for youth justice in Victoria is moving to the Department of Justice and Regulation. Corrections Victoria will permanently manage the security of all youth justice facilities, and a new high-security youth justice centre will be built, as part of sweeping reforms to the youth justice system.

Reality bites Australia’s youth unemployment in a millennial era

Youth Justice

Using data from the longitudinal Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, The Brotherhood of St Laurence report analysed the assumption that young people were less active in looking for work. It found unemployed young people ‘have consistently undertaken just as wide a range of job search activities as unemployed people aged 25 and over’. Nonetheless, the unemployment rate for 15-24 year-olds in the labour force sits at 12.4% – more than double the overall unemployment rate of 5.5%.

Report of Government Services: Youth Justice

Youth Justice

The 2017 Report on Government Services (ROGS) considers the performance and effectiveness of youth justice services in Australia, and across the states and territories. The report indicates that the daily average rate of young people aged 10–17 years in detention in Victoria is 11.3 per 100,000. This is the lowest number across the states and territories, and well below the national average of 35 per 100,000 young people.

Speaking Out About Youth Justice: The Views of WA Children and Young People

Youth Justice

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in WA has released a report detailing the experiences of young people who have been in contact with the youth justice system. Along with their personal stories, the young people included in the study share what they think would support them in the community to break the cycle of reoffending. The 92 young people involved in the study communicated the belief that offending could be prevented by making appropriate supports and services available. Key supports included positive role models, living in a safe and stable home, participating in education or employment, being involved in community activities and being supported to deal with personal challenges and behavioural issues. For a large number of young offenders, the role models, family supports and other safety nets many of us take for granted are not present.

Statement on conditions and treatment in youth justice detention

Youth Justice

A joint statement has been issued by Australia’s Children’s Commissioners and Guardians regarding the conditions and treatment in Australia’s youth justice detention facilities. The position statement advises all Australian state governments to adopt 13 principles to ensure that our youth justice system is truly rehabilitative and based on best practice. The statement includes a summary of recent reviews of youth justice in Australia.

The New Work Smarts: Thriving in the new work order

Youth Justice

The Foundation for Young Australians has released a report exploring the changing face of work. Drivers such as automation, flexible work arrangements and globalisation mean that the skills required by workers in the future will be very different from those of today. The report predicts that 77 per cent more time will be spent using science and mathematics skills, and that skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and digital literacy will be critical. The report suggests that Australia’s education system, from preschool through to higher education, needs to adapt to adequately prepare young people for work.

Victorian Ombudsman Report: An Investigation into Children Transferred From the Youth Justice System to the Adult Prison System (2013)

Youth Justice

In 2013, George Brouwer tabled a report investigating the transfer of children from the youth justice system to the adult prison system. This report was released largely in response to the high number of transfers from youth justice to the adult corrections system in July – August 2012. The increase was shown to be connected to the nature of offending shifting from property-based offences to violent crime, and detainees committing acts in order to be transferred. This report noted the increasingly complex and violent cases in youth justice, and that the system was struggling even then to meet these complex needs.

Victorian Ombudsman Report: Youth Justice Facilities at the Grevillea Unit of Barwon Prison, Malmsbury and Parkville (2017)

Youth Justice

Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass recently released a report on Victoria’s youth justice facilities in Malmsbury, Parkville and the Grevillea Unit at Barwon Prison. The report details the deterioration of conditions at Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre in November and December of 2016, including young people being kept in their rooms up to 23 hours per day, beds without mattresses or bedding, and no toilet paper or clean clothing. The conditions at Grevillea Youth Justice Centre are equally concerning, with reports of an excessive amount of time in lockdown, limited or zero access to visitors, and lack of information provided to young people about their transfer. The Ombudsman highlights staff shortages and overcrowding as contributing to the failure of these facilities. The report calls on the Victorian government to focus on long-term reform and the rehabilitation of these young people.

Young people in Child Protection and Under Youth Justice Supervision 2014-15

Youth Justice

This report presents information on young people aged 10–17 who were involved in the child protection system and subject to youth justice supervision at some time during 2014–15, based on data from the linked child protection and youth justice supervision data collection.

Youth Justice in Australia 2014–15

Youth Justice

This bulletin presents data on the numbers and rates of young people who are in contact with the youth justice system in Australia across 2014–15. It examines recent trends in supervision, and characteristics of those young people under community supervision or detention. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and males are significantly overrepresented in the youth justice system. However, the overall number of young offenders in Victoria aged between 10 and 19 years has declined over the past decade.

Youth Justice Review and Strategy: Meeting needs and reducing offending

Youth Justice

The Victorian Government has released a comprehensive independent review of the Victorian Youth Justice System. The review provides a detailed account of the young people who are currently in the Victorian youth justice system, and the significant challenges currently facing the system. Currently, the reviewers note, just 1 per cent of youth justice investment is allocated to early intervention programs and 3 per cent to court-based diversion and restorative justice. The review highlights the need to draw on the evidence base and refocus on the needs of young offenders, and their rehabilitation.

Mission Australia’s Youth Mental Health and Homelessness Report presents findings from the Mission Australia Youth Survey. It shows that poor family functioning and serious mental illness are factors that significantly impact the risk of homelessness for young Australians aged 15-19 years. Findings include those with a probable serious mental illness are 3.5 times more likely to have spent time away from home than those without a probable serious mental illness.