Young people in residential care have experienced abuse and neglect and the impact of this trauma often means they are more likely than their peers to present with risk-taking behaviours such as self-harm, aggression, substance abuse and other activities that place them at high risk of contact with police and the youth justice system.
A new multi-agency approach will work to reduce the contact of young people in residential care with the criminal justice system.
This framework provides a shared commitment between the department, the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Victoria Police, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare on behalf of residential care service providers to reduce the trajectory of young people in residential care into the criminal justice system through:
- Implementation of a decision-making guide for residential care workers to utilise when considering the need for police intervention.
- Ensuring responses to young people in residential care are trauma informed and focus on harm minimisation, diversion and alternative approaches to behaviours of concern.
- Development of behaviour support plans for all young people in residential care, which aim to reduce the frequency and/or severity of incidents arising from behaviours of concern and foster improved relationships between workers and young people in residential care.
- Workforce training, to equip residential care workers with alternative responses to young people’s behaviour and ensure consistent trauma informed approaches when engaging with young people in residential care.
- Acknowledging the voices of young people and the importance of connection to community and culture.
The framework is supported by CREATE Foundation, Berry Street Victoria, MacKillop Family Services, the Commission for Children and Young People, Victorian Legal Aid (VLA), Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance.
It was developed following recommendations in the 2017 Victoria Legal Aid Care not Custody report, the Department of Justice and Community Safety Youth Justice Review and Strategy reports and the Commission for Children and Young People’s (CCYP) 2019 inquiry In our own words. A state-wide implementation group will be established to support delivery of the framework.