This procedure relates to the organisation of community work required by a supervised court order.

 

When to use this procedure

When a young person is required to undertake community work as part of their youth justice order.

 

What else you need to know

 

Practice context and legislation

  • Section 407 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 requires a young person subject to a youth attendance order to engage in community work or other activities as directed by youth justice for a maximum of four hours in every week.
  • The court may only make the order with the young person’s consent and if youth justice has assessed that the young person is suitable to undertake the order.
  • Section 389 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 makes provision for community work to be a condition of a youth supervision order for young people aged over 15 years.
  • Youth supervision and youth attendance orders must be administered in a structured manner, due to their position in the sentencing hierarchy and their stringent requirements.
  • The 'Youth justice community work program guidelines' provide detailed guidance on community work.
  • Community work or other activities refers to structured and supervised work, tasks or activities that benefit a community organisation and/or individual and provides a means for reparation for offending.
  • The community work component of a court order provides the young person with consequences for illegal behaviour through deprivation of leisure time and allowing them to make amends for the offences they have committed.
  • Intensive supervision and structured activities help the young person to develop a sense of responsibility, learn new skills, contribute in a constructive way and build relationships within their local community.
  • Community work commitments provide a valuable opportunity for young people to pursue new experiences that may increase their level of confidence and shape future life choices.
  • Young people required to engage in community work or other activities are not entitled to receive remuneration for their work.
  • The community support worker and community support work coordinator, in collaboration with the case manager, are responsible for seeking opportunities for community work or activities that will assist the young person in their rehabilitation process and develop useful skills.
  • The young person’s interests and community links are taken into account when exploring community work options. In the absence of a community support worker, this role lies with the case manager, or the worker with the community work portfolio.
  • Community support (or sessional) workers employed by youth justice can supervise community work or other activities; or young people can work within a community work organisation under supervision of a representative of that agency, dependent on signed agreement.
  • Young people who engage in community work or other activities are covered under the Accident Compensation Act 1985.
  • All work carried out under community work or other activities as directed by Youth Justice, must adhere to the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
  • Practice varies between areas due to different organisational structures. For areas where community support worker or community support work coordinator positions do not exist, these procedures apply to the respective case manager undertaking supervision of community work, and team leader with the community work portfolio.
 

Roles and key tasks

Community support worker

  • Contact case manager within two days of being allocated.
  • In collaboration with case manager, identify appropriate community work activity and expectations, and obtain endorsement of team leader and community support work team leader.
  • Build and maintain relationships with community work sites.
  • Complete 'Community work program site registration' form.
  • Provide feedback to community support work coordinator regarding appropriateness of sites.
  • Report on community work progress and provide information to support case management.

Case manager

  • Consult with team leader before recommending an order with community work.
  • Assess the young person’s capacity and suitability to undertake community work and obtain consent.
  • Complete referral to community support work program.
  • In collaboration with community support worker, identify appropriate community work activity and expectations, and obtain team leader endorsement.
  • Supervise the young person, and make case management decisions.

Community support work coordinator or relevant line manager

  • Identify, establish and oversee appropriate community work sites and partnerships.
  • Endorse 'Community work program site registration' form.
  • Sign the memorandum of understanding.
  • Provide consultation and supervision to community support workers.

Team leader / team manager / area manager

  • Provide consultation and supervision to case manager.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice program.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

  • Provide case consultation and dispute resolution in cases of disagreement between community work sites and area youth justice. This should occur subject to local area agreements between assistant director/manager Individual Family Support and the Senior Practice Advisor.
 

The procedure in detail

Organisation of community work activities

Before starting community work or other activities, the community support work coordinator will identify, oversee and approve Community Work Program partnerships.

A site assessment must be undertaken before the young person starts community work.

The community support worker, together with an organisational representative, completes a 'Community Work Program site registration' form, found in the Youth justice community work program guidelines. This is authorised by the community work coordinator.

These forms should be completed for each site annually and updated if any details change. The signed original should be kept and not altered.

The outcome of the site assessment should be documented on the Client Relation Information System (CRIS).

A 'Memorandum of understanding', found in the Youth justice community work program guidelines, is to also be completed by the community support work coordinator to inform the local operation of the community work program.

Identifying community work sites

Subject to local area arrangements, it is the role of the community support work coordinator to identify and establish appropriate community work sites and partnerships.

The community work program Memorandum of understanding is to be developed by the community support work coordinator and organisation delegate.

Community support workers are required to facilitate community work, subject to the contents of the memorandum of understanding.

Refer to the procedure for 'Community support worker role', and the Youth justice community work guidelinesfor more information.

Recommending an order with community work

The young person must understand what will be required of them when they undertake community work.

Before recommending a court order with a community work component, consult with team leader, and schedule an appointment to be attended by young person, case manager and team leader to explain the conditions and find out whether the young person consents to the order being made.

This assessment needs to take place at court if a young person has not been assessed prior to court.

Referral

Within two days of the order being issued, the case manager must complete a referral form and forward to the community support work coordinator.

A community support worker should be allocated to work with young person and be in contact with the case manager to make arrangements for the first appointment within two days of referral being received.

Identification of appropriate activities

On acceptance of the referral, appropriate community work activities should be identified as soon as possible.

When identifying an appropriate activity, the case manager and community support worker should undertake the following:

  • Discuss the types of community work the young person is interested in undertaking.
  • Assess the young person’s suitability or ability to undertake the task.
  • Determine from the young person and information recorded on file, the types of tasks the young person is able to perform.
  • Identify any health, physical or offending attributes that might prevent the young person from participating in a specific task.
  • Check the young person’s offending history and note any offences that might prohibit the young person from attending a specific community setting or site.
  • Consider opportunities for specific reparation for the offence/s committed, such as cleaning off graffiti.
  • Clarify the amount and type of supervision required.
  • Before commencement, ensure the young person has a clear understanding of the task requirements and who will be supervising them throughout the activity.
  • Clarify other commitments the young person might have to minimise clashes of community work with other activities. This should take into account any program, employment or educational commitments the young person may have.
  • Consult with team leader and community support work coordinator about the suitability of the proposed task.

The case manager should record details of these discussion, and the agreed tasks, in the Client Relation Information System (CRIS).

Intake

Once an appropriate activity has been identified, an intake appointment should be arranged. At this meeting, the case manager and line manager will reiterate the conditions and requirements.

Explain all expectations of the order, particularly community work expectations, to the young person.

Tell the young person the number of hours they are to attend each week.

See procedure for 'Intake' for more information.

Define task details

The community support worker should define the task to be undertaken by the young person (for example, mowing lawn) and identify associated tasks (such as, filling the mower with petrol).

The community support worker is responsible for identifying any tasks that youth justice will not approve for the young person to undertake, and identifying any additional tasks that the young person is not equipped for or instructed on how to do (for example, using a ride-on lawn mower).

These details should be identified in consultation with the case manager, and community support work coordinator.

Provide recommended risk control

The community support worker must complete the community service activities list and note any occupational health and safety requirements associated with the task (for example, the mower needs to be fit for the purpose, properly maintained and instructions on use available to the young person prior to use).

Identify basic safety equipment requirements associated with the task and provide safety equipment if not available (for example, hearing protection, safety glasses, gloves, enclosed shoes, sunscreen and hat).

See the Department of Human Services policy on sunscreen for more information.

The community support worker and/or case manager should consult with their team leader concerning the details and suitability of the proposed task not listed on the community service activities list.

Collate a package of practice instructions, information and any safety equipment required to complete the task.

Where a community work organisation supervises the young person

Community support (or sessional) workers employed by youth justice can supervise community work activities, or young people can work in a community work organisation under supervision of a representative of that agency.

The area youth justice service should develop connections with a range of local community work organisations to supervise community work or other activities.

Availability of a broad range of service options provides greater scope to match young people's capabilities and interests.

If it is assessed that a young person would benefit from, and has the ability to, work in a community work organisation, the allocated youth justice worker is responsible for making sure that the necessary arrangements with the community work organisation are in place.

Refer to the practice instruction for 'Supervision of community work' for more detailed information.

Where a sessional worker supervises the work

Refer to the procedure for 'Community support worker role'.

Monitoring risk controls

Team leaders, in conjunction with the allocated youth justice worker, must ensure there is a process for checking safety standards and occupational health and safety requirements for community work activities undertaken by young people.

It is also imperative that any volunteers or staff within community work organisations that will have direct, unsupervised contact with the young person can produce evidence of a Working with Children Check.

 

Additional information