This procedure relates to working with young people who identify as Aboriginal.

 

When to use this procedure

All young people entering youth justice system who identify as Aboriginal or from the Torres Strait Islands are to be given information about the Koori youth justice program and the option of referral to a Koori youth justice program worker.

 

What else you need to know

 

Practice context and legislation

  • The Koori youth justice program is a Victorian government initiative implemented in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991).
  • This report highlighted the over-representation of Aboriginal people in juvenile and adult justice systems, and the accelerated rate of progression into youth justice by many young Aboriginal people.
  • The findings included the need 'to devise strategies designed to reduce the rate at which young Aboriginal people are involved in the welfare and criminal justice systems'.
  • The Koori youth justice program aims to ensure culturally responsive, quality service delivery to young Aboriginal people who are at risk of offending, have offended and/or are at risk of further offending.
  • Support is a key objective of the Koori youth justice program, with the focus primarily being on maintaining young Aboriginal people’s connection with their community while supporting the community to develop and maintain programs that divert young Aboriginal people from detention, either on remand or sentence.
  • The Koori youth justice program has developed a self-management model and in the majority of areas/divisions, funding is provided to local Aboriginal community-controlled organisations who assume responsibility for the employment, supervision and support of community-based Koori youth justice program workers. These workers provide Aboriginal young people with appropriate role models, culturally sensitive support, case work and advocacy.
  • The allocated youth justice case worker and the community-based Koori youth justice program worker must consult and work together collaboratively to ensure that the best interests of the young Aboriginal person are met and managed appropriately.
  • The program also includes the employment of Koori intensive support practitioners within area youth justice teams. Koori intensive support practitioners provide intensive culturally based pre- and post-release support to young people released from youth justice centres, to support reintegration into their communities.
  • Practitioners also perform a diversionary function by providing intensive outreach support to assist Aboriginal young people to comply with pre-sentence bail conditions.
 

Roles and key tasks

Community-based Koori youth justice program worker

  • Promote cultural connectedness through preparation and implementation of Aboriginal cultural support plans.
  • Provide consultation to case manager and care team and attend care team meetings.
  • Provide advice and advocacy for young Aboriginal people at court, as well as consultation to youth justice workers supporting young people at the Koori court.
  • Attend client service plan meetings and implement actions as part of client service plan and cultural support plan.
  • Refer young Aboriginal people to culturally appropriate programs.
  • Develop relationships with area networks, including the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees (RAJACs), police, courts, and service providers.

Koori intensive support practitioner

  • Provide statutory supervision and case management services to young Koori people, pre- and post-release from custody, or while subject to bail supervision.
  • Undertake assessments, develop, implement and review case plans and strategies designed to address offending behaviour.
  • Convene regular care team meetings.
  • Respond to non-compliance.
  • Prepare and present reports and to the Youth Parole Board and the courts.
  • Advocate on behalf of Koori clients and, where appropriate, their families.
  • Facilitate access to specialist, generic and Koori-specific community services.

Youth justice case manager

  • Provide case management and supervision.
  • Liaise with community-based Koori youth justice program worker, in relation to the cultural support plan and attending the Koori court where required.
  • Convene regular care team meetings.

Team leader / team manager

  • Provide consultation and supervision to case manager.
  • Endorse assessments, client service plans and court reports.
  • Issue warnings and authorise breach action as necessary.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice service.
  • Provide case consultation regarding young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

  • Provide case consultation regarding court recommendations, breaches and young people exhibiting high-risk behaviours. This should occur subject to local area agreements between Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support and the Senior Practice Advisor.
 

The procedure in detail

Legal definition of Aboriginal person

Under s. 3(1) of the Children, Youth and Families Act, ‘Aboriginal person’ means a person who:

  1. is descended from an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander; and
  2. identifies as an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander; and
  3. is accepted as an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island community.

Identification of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people

Young people entering the youth justice system must be asked whether they identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. This information is recorded in CRIS.

Young people identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander must be:

  • provided with information about the Koori youth justice program
  • given the option of referral to the relevant community-based Koori youth justice program worker.

The Aboriginal community welcomes non-Aboriginal people who belong to a blended Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal family to participate in the Koori youth justice program; however non-Aboriginal people are not identified as Aboriginal.

The Koori youth justice program

The role of the Koori youth justice program is to provide diversionary and rehabilitation services for Aboriginal young people on court orders supervised by the youth justice service, or who are at risk of entering/re-entering the criminal justice service.

The role of the community-based Koori youth justice program worker

The community-based Koori youth justice worker provides a culturally responsive service through:

  • providing support to young Aboriginal people and their families at court, including Koori court, and where appropriate to advocate to the court on their behalf
  • providing secondary consultation to youth justice workers, who have case management responsibility for Aboriginal young people, to ensure that culturally relevant information is provided to the Koori court, children’s court, magistrates’ court, County Court and Supreme Court    
  • providing written or verbal advice to the court as required, in consultation with the youth justice worker
  • attending case planning and care team meetings, as required
  • ensuring actions relating to the client assessment plan, Aboriginal cultural support plan and exit plan are implemented, in partnership with the youth justice worker
  • visiting young Aboriginal people in detention, on remand or sentenced, to establish and/or re-establish linkages with their Aboriginal community
  • initiating handover between community and custodial Aboriginal youth justice workers
  • developing and initiating culturally appropriate programs and strategies designed to prevent young Aboriginal people from entering/re-entering the youth justice system
  • supplying case notes to the youth justice worker detailing contact, and progress with goals and tasks on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, as required.

Co-working with the community-based Koori youth justice program worker

The youth justice worker is required to:

  • include the community-based Koori youth justice worker in case planning and care team meetings
  • consult with the community-based Koori youth justice worker to implement an Aboriginal cultural support plan, where required, during the client assessment and planning phase
  • ensure that the completed Aboriginal cultural support plan is attached to the client assessment plan on the Client Relationship Information System (CRIS)
  • consult with the community-based Koori youth justice worker about the review of Aboriginal cultural support plans
  • advise the community based Koori youth justice worker of relevant court hearings and Youth Parole Board hearings, and consult with the community based Koori youth justice worker in relation to Koori court hearings.

Koori youth justice program – custodial workers

The Aboriginal youth justice custodial worker provides support to Aboriginal young people entering custody or in custody by:

  • providing and facilitating immediate and ongoing support for young Aboriginal people in detention, on remand or sentence.
  • developing and reviewing Aboriginal cultural support plans as required
  • initiating communication between area and custodial Aboriginal youth justice workers
  • attending case planning and care team meetings, as required
  • maintaining or facilitating connection or reconnection with family and community
  • providing secondary consultation to case managers/key workers for Aboriginal young people to ensure that culturally appropriate client assessment plans and exit plans are implemented
  • providing secondary consultation to youth justice workers with case management responsibility for Aboriginal young people, to ensure culturally relevant information is provided to the Koori court, children’s court, magistrates’ court, County Court and Supreme Court
  • providing support to Aboriginal young people and their families at court and to advocate to the court on their behalf
  • providing support for Aboriginal young people and their families at the Youth Parole Board and advice to the board, in consultation with unit management
  • assisting in accessing diversionary programs for Aboriginal young people on remand
  • developing and initiating culturally appropriate programs and strategies designed to prevent young Aboriginal people from re-entering the youth justice system, in consultation with precinct management

Koori intensive support practitioner

The Koori intensive support practitioner role is distinct from the community-based Koori youth justice worker.

This role sits within the youth justice service and has responsibility for youth justice supervision and case management of Aboriginal young people who are:

  • subject to a court order supervised by youth justice
  • subject to a period of supervised bail.

Koori intensive support practitioners provide support to young people to prepare for release from a youth justice precinct on parole.

This support continues after release, for the duration of their parole, with a commitment to diversion, rehabilitation and re-integration into the community.

The functions performed by Koori intensive support practitioners include the administration of the statutory requirements of a parole order.

However, they also provide case management to engage Koori-specific services and interventions that, where appropriate, acknowledge and involve the young person’s culture and community.

This includes convening care team meetings that will involve the community-based Koori youth justice worker, any other involved Koori-specific services, and members of the young person’s community who are deemed appropriate to attend.

Refer to the procedures for ‘Parole orders’ for more information about the supervision of parole orders.

Practitioners also provide intensive outreach support to assist Koori young people at risk of remand to comply with bail conditions or a period of deferral of sentence.

The aim of this is to provide supervision and support to a Koori young person on bail, as an alternative to a period of remand.

Area/divisional programs

The Department of Human Services recognises the diversity of the Aboriginal culture and the differences between operating the Koori youth justice program in metropolitan and rural communities.

The common objective of the program is to strengthen cultural support for Aboriginal young people and to promote a positive lifestyle, while reflecting the desires and aspirations of the local Aboriginal community.

A further objective is the development of culturally appropriate diversionary and rehabilitation programs that provide young Aboriginal people with an opportunity to feel proud of their culture and know where they belong.

 

Additional information