This procedure relates to the Changing Habits And Reaching Targets program for youth justice clients.


When to use this procedure

When providing case management to a young person, and addressing their offending behaviour.


What else you need to know


Practice context and legislation

  • Changing Habits and Reaching Targets (CHART) is an offending-behaviour change program designed to work with the offending needs of youth justice clients who scored moderate to high on the Victorian Offending Needs Indicator for Youth (VONIY).
  • The program is designed to help young people to:
    • understand the values and beliefs that underpin their offending behaviour
    • re-examine their motivation
    • re-evaluate the potential consequences of their actions
    • develop problem solving and consequential thinking skills
    • develop skills to find new directions.
  • CHART is designed to be a practical tool to:
    • support casework with young people
    • employ a skills-oriented, cognitive-behavioural focus
    • be clear in its approach to intervention
    • use active, participatory learning methods.
  • CHART is based on the guiding principle that reducing the young person's offending behaviour is the prime focus of youth justice intervention. It is designed to support consistent and improved interventions to reduce the risk of reoffending.
  • CHART is not just a program but is also a way of working. The program is evidence based and informed by research on effective correctional programming. Research suggests that offending-focused programs work best when they involve action, participation, skills training and discussion linked to these activities. CHART includes all of these elements in every session.
  • CHART has five aims:
    • to provide an evidence-based practical resource for working one-to-one with young people
    • to provide a program that is directly relevant to key criminogenic needs and is designed for sequential, structured, offending-focused, one-to-one work
    • to use a problem-solving framework of assessment, objective setting, action (learning and practice) and evaluation as the key change process.
    • to provide a user-friendly program that recognises young people's rights and responsibilities, and which can be used in an anti-discriminatory way.
    • to be a portable resource for use with young people when in the community and in custody.
  • For comprehensive information and guidance, access the CHART manual.

Roles and key tasks

Case manager

  • Provide case management and supervision to young person.
  • Incorporate CHART into supervision and client service plan process.
  • Prepare CHART sessions and review young person's progress.

The procedure in detail

Case management context

Youth justice case management provides a vital framework for the delivery of Changing Habits and Reaching Targets (CHART) during the young person's order.

It can be used in conjunction with assessment processes, planning interventions, case reviews and supervision and in a way responds to young people's needs, motivations and learning style.

CHART can be introduced as a goal of the client service plan, for the purpose of helping the young person to reduce the risk of reoffending.

Adequate time is required to implement CHART and maintain the programs integrity.

The young person's progress in CHART is monitored as part of supervision of the court order.

Refer to the procedure for case management framework for more information.

Victorian Offending Needs Inventory for Youth (VONIY)

Levels of intervention and particular individual needs are identified through the VONIY.

CHART is designed for young people identified by the VONIY as requiring a moderate or high level of intervention.

If deemed appropriate discretionary modules may be used with low-intervention young people to assist skills and strategies relating to particular areas as identified in VONIY and client service planning.

Collaborative approach

When introducing CHART to a young person:

  • be clear about the goals of the program and the reasons for the young person's participation
  • explain how long the program will take and the expectations of the young person
  • emphasize that CHART is a self-directed program
  • adopt an interactive, problem solving and participatory style between yourself and the young person
  • support the young person to take an active role in the process
  • encourage the young person to acquire new skills
  • allow adequate contact time to complete worksheets.

Discuss the worker's role as a coach and the young person's role as an active participant in the program.

Emphasise that it is a collaborative process.

Develop a CHART program plan with the client that outlines:

  • the modules they will complete
  • dates and locations of sessions
  • expected completion date.

During the program, use the CHART program plan as a visual and concrete demonstration of the client's progress.

Explain that when the young person has completed the six core modules, they will receive a CHART certificate of core program completion.

Explain individual certificates are also available for subsequent completion of each discretionary module.

To reinforce the young person's achievements, present copies of completed worksheets with the graduation certificates.

Method of delivery

The overall aim of CHART is the development of skills.

Deliver sessions to include the following:

  • combine information giving with active exercises
  • allow opportunities for practice
  • discuss assigned tasks
  • complete colour worksheets within the session
  • review takeaway activities in the next session
  • tell the young person they need to practice their new skills
  • ensure they clearly understand the key learning points of each session
  • emphasise the links between session content and the worksheets as the program progresses
  • remind the young person to apply skills learned in earlier sessions
  • emphasise the connection between the session contents and life situations.

Modular structure

CHART is a 12-module program.

It consists of six core and six discretionary modules.

The core modules are delivered in full, in sequence, as a structured intervention, followed by the delivery of discretionary modules as appropriate for the young person to address particular offence-specific behaviours and offence-related needs.

Core modules

The introduction and the six core modules are structured into 16 discrete sessions, each of approximately 30 minutes duration.

Core modules take a minimum of four months to complete and consist of:

  • Introduction to CHART
  • Module 1: Offence mapping
  • Module 2: Motivation to change
  • Module 3: Offending thinking
  • Module 4: Problem-solving
  • Module 5: Lifestyle balance
  • Module 6: Relapse prevention plan

Discretionary modules

On completion of the core modules encourage the young person to continue and complete other discretionary modules.

The VONIY and client service plan will identify specific behaviours and offence-related needs.

The six discretionary modules consist of two sessions each:

Module 7: Healthy relationships
Module 8: Violence
Module 9: Motor vehicle offending
Module 10: Drugs and alcohol
Module 11: Living independently
Module 12: Education and work.

Individual certificates are given to the young person for each discretionary module completed.

Program integrity

The CHART program should be delivered as designed, but there is scope for workers to use their creativity and initiative.

To maintain program integrity the following factors are important:

  • CHART sessions must take place at the planned frequency and regularity
  • the setting must be appropriate and the necessary materials and other resources available
  • the objectives of the program must be explained to young people
  • workers adhere to the theoretical underpinning of CHART
  • the work is undertaken using appropriate methods and style of interaction
  • the contents of the sessions follow the plans given in the CHART program manual.

Running CHART sessions

Prior to each session, allow adequate planning time to organise necessary materials and become familiar with the reading material and tasks. Planning and rehearsing can add to the success of each session.

Following each session, record a brief review on the Client Relationship Information System (CRIS).

While it is possible to vary the frequency and timing of sessions to meet the young person's personal commitments, it is recommended that the following apply:

  • at the outset discuss with the young person the time, place and frequency of sessions
  • frequency of sessions should be one per week (longer time between sessions will have limited impact on the young person's learning and change process)
  • between-session time is important for consolidation of learning (plan for a minimum of at least one day between sessions)
  • monitor attendance and record on CRIS
  • encourage young people to attend all scheduled CHART sessions
  • take prior worksheets to sessions to build on themes and enable reflection
  • at the end of the program give the original worksheets to the young person and retain a copy for youth justice files.

Transfer of CHART between areas and custody

Young people sometimes undertake CHART in custody or the community when they transfer to either or between areas.

In these cases:

  • ensure completed worksheets are given to the new allocated workers
  • use initial sessions with the new workers to revise completed worksheets.

Session format

Each module includes an overview, contents of each session and relevant worksheets.

Directions are provided for workers to conduct each session, including an approximate time frame for the components of the session.

Take a flexible approach to time-management for each session as it will be influenced by the young person's level of participation, education and their emotional state.

Start each session with a review of the previous session and any takeaway work that have been completed.

By following the session directions carefully, workers will help the young person to develop a clear picture about what is expected of them in the program, and reduce their anxiety about the sessions and any resistance to the program.

The discretionary modules follow the same format as the core modules.

Exercises may be used wholly or in part and repeated depending on the identified needs of the young person.

Literacy skills

Most sessions include exercises that use pencil-and-paper worksheets.

Help young people who have reduced literacy skills by:

  • emphasising that single words or phrases are sufficient
  • assist by writing down words or phrases generated by the young person.

Discuss supporting the young person to develop their literacy skill separate to the CHART session.

Learning and development

Youth justice workers are trained to use the CHART modular program as part of the beginning practice program.

For further information contact the Senior Learning and Development Consultant - Beginning Practice (External link)


Additional information