This procedure deals with referral process and case management for young people involved with the Youth Justice Community Support Service (the service).


When to use this procedure

When providing case management to a young person who requires a high or intensive level of intervention, or post-release support, and is eligible for involvement with the service.


What else you need to know


Practice context and legislation

  • Many young people involved with youth justice need intensive support to access services including employment, education and training, mental health, drug and alcohol, and housing and accommodation.
  • The Youth Justice Community Support Service is an integrated approach to complement statutory case management undertaken by youth justice.
  • The service recognises young people have a range of complex and varied needs that require an individualised service response.
  • The service ensures services for young people are coordinated between youth justice and community service organisations.
  • Through the service, community service organisations have formed partnerships provide support and referral to the broader service system.
  • The service also enables young to continue to access support services after statutory youth justice involvement.
  • The service provides:
    • intensive case work support
    • integrated access and supported referrals
    • transitional housing and support.
  • Each consortium has creative engagement approaches, including assertive outreach, with particular attention to continued and persistent engagement strategies over a long period. The service persistently engages vulnerable, high-needs young people who may be resistant, apathetic or ambivalent.
  • Given the high needs and high-risk behaviours of young people involved with youth justice, the service provides sustained, enduring support for young people who are at risk of disengaging and further offending.
  • Support ranges from responding to crises through to long-term involvement. Where appropriate, the service supports young people beyond the duration of their youth justice orders. If an urgent response is needed, the service can offer out-of-hours support.
  • The target group for the service is made up of two subgroups. A young person involved youth justice may be referred as part of either or both of these subgroups:
    • young people with a high to intensive level of intervention, as assessed through the client assessment / Victorian Offender Needs Inventory for Youth (VONIY). Other young people may be referred at the discretion of the community youth justice service.
    • young people involved with youth justice who are eligible for transitional housing and support as part of the Transitional Housing Management - Youth Justice Housing Pathways Initiative (THM - YJHPI).
  • For more information about the THM – YJHPI and other services provided by the service, refer to the Youth Justice Community Support Service guidelines.

Roles and key tasks

Area case manager / key worker

  • Assess the young person’s needs and areas requiring intervention.
  • Identify young people who need high/intensive levels of intervention, or young people who need post-release support, and refer to YJCSS where appropriate and with consent of the young person.
  • Exchange information with consortium.
  • Provide case management using a care team approach.
  • Provide exit planning, in collaboration with care team.

Team leader / team manager

  • Provide consultation and supervision to case manager.
  • Attend care team meetings when required.
  • Consult with other services on disputes that cannot be resolved within care teams.
  • Act as gatekeeper for referrals to YJCSS and conduit for monitoring young people involved with YJCSS.

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 within care teams. This should occur subject to local area agreements between Assistant Director / Manager Individual Family Support and the Senior Practice Advisor.

The procedure in detail

Assessment and prioritisation for service

Referrals to YJCSS are initiated by the allocated youth justice worker as part of the case management process.

All referrals to YJCSS must be endorsed by the youth justice team manager (or delegate).

Identify young people involved with youth justice to be referred to the YJCSS through the case management/casework processes, with a focus on young people requiring high/intensive levels of intervention as determined by the client assessment / VONIY.

Identify young people in youth justice precincts who need post-release support through parole/exit planning in consultation with youth justice precincts, allowing time for engagement of services before release.

Assess whether a young person requires, and is eligible for, the Transitional Housing Management – Youth Justice Housing Pathways Initiative (THM - YJHPI) component for vacancies within designated youth justice THM properties.

Discuss cross-area or cross-division referrals to the YJCSS between relevant youth justice units.

As per area arrangements, consult with the YJCSS consortium regarding potential referrals.

Consult with the Youth Justice Homeless Assistance Service (YJHA) regarding access to other accommodation and support options including transitional housing, homelessness support services and options for young people homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Document referrals that were not prioritised for service with the YJCSS.

Ensure alternative supports/referrals are in place for young people involved with youth justice who are not referred to YJCSS, as per youth justice case practice standards.

Referral process

Discuss the referral with the young person and seek written consent for the referral. Document the young person’s consent on Client Relationship Information System (CRIS).

Complete the YJCSS referral in CRIS using the generated referral form with endorsement from the youth justice team manager with relevant attached documents (for example, VONIY summary, CAP, consent form) and send to lead YJCSS agency via CRIS to CRISSP (Client Relationship Information System for Service Providers).

Discuss the release of Youth Parole Board reports to YJCSS consortia with the area youth justice team manager to flag with the board secretariat for sensitive/complex cases.

Detail the individual support needs of the young person and the service response requested, including support areas, priorities for intervention and proposed length of support.

Identify worker safety issues and alerts in referral and discuss with YJCSS consortium.

For young people in custody, confirm with youth justice centre staff when the referral has been completed.

Close open referrals in CRIS once referral has been accepted by YJCSS.

Information exchange between youth justice and YJCSS consortia

As part of a care-team approach, information regarding a young person’s progress will be regularly shared between youth justice and the relevant YJCSS consortium.

Information to be exchanged between YJCSS consortium and youth justice may include (but is not limited to):

  • general progress the young person has made during the support period
  • youth justice case plans and YJCSS case support plans and reviews
  • issues that impact on the young person’s ability to comply with youth justice orders.

Where the young person, as part of the YJCSS, is also receiving transitional housing and support, information to be exchanged between the THM, housing support agency and youth justice also includes:

  • any issues that impact on the young person’s tenancy
  • potential breaches of the tenancy agreement
  • housing exit plans.

Circumstances where consent is not required

There are some circumstances where use or disclosure of information about young people can occur, even when the young person or their parent or guardian has not provided consent, without breaching privacy legislation:

  • if the use or disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to an individual’s life, health, safety or welfare or a serious threat to public health, welfare or safety
  • where reasonably necessary to disclose to a law enforcement agency for the purposes of investigation of unlawful activity.

If information is disclosed without consent of the young person, consideration should be given to whether it is in the young person’s best interest to be informed of the disclosure.

Commencement of YJCSS support

A support worker from YJCSS is required to make initial contact with the young person within five days of the referral being accepted.

An accepted referral will be displayed in CRIS.

Inform the young person that they will be provided with support and that the YJCSS will be making initial contact with them.

Where appropriate support the young person to attend initial meeting.

Confirm YJCSS worker/services with youth justice centre staff for young people in custody.

Notify relevant support services if there is a delay in a young person being released from custody.

Convene an initial care-team meeting, to occur within 14 days of the referral being accepted, inviting YJCSS support worker and other relevant supports involved with the young person, including child protection or disability services for young people on dual orders.

Ensure meetings are documented, assigning roles and tasks.

Set up a regular meeting schedule.

Statutory case management and support provision through the YJCSS

Youth justice has non-delegable obligations to take reasonable care and responsibility of young people on statutory orders.

Youth justice will retain full statutory supervision and case management responsibilities and will continue to provide direct and ongoing casework interventions in relation to offending behaviour for the duration of statutory orders.

The YJCSS will develop a support plan within 20 days of initial contact with the young person.

This should complement statutory supervision and case-management of the community based youth justice order undertaken by the youth justice worker.

During the support period youth justice workers should:

  • maintain regular contact with YJCSS support workers to share relevant information
  • review ongoing support needs
  • convene care team meetings
  • document meetings, provide a record of the meetings to all participants, and review meeting schedule.

Exit planning

The YJCSS consortium may assume case management of young people post expiry of youth justice orders.

This ongoing provision of YJCSS support will be negotiated with the area youth justice unit as part of the exit planning process.

On acceptance of full case management, the YJCSS support workers also assume responsibility for care team meetings.

As part of the exit planning process, youth justice workers should:

  • review ongoing support needs of the young person after statutory involvement with youth justice, in consultation with the YJCSS consortium
  • discuss ongoing supports available to the young person on completion of statutory youth justice orders.

Dispute resolution

Resolution of a dispute regarding delivery of services should be address promptly and resolved with a focus on the young person’s best interests by the youth justice case manager and the YJCSS worker.

If an issue cannot be resolved, it should be referred through relevant supervisor/line manager and, if required, to the relevant service managers.

Tenancy issues/disputes (as part of the THM - YJHPI) should be referred to the relevant transitional housing manager, as outlined in individual THM interagency agreements.

Part two of Youth Justice Community Support Service guidelines specifically detail the THM-YJHPI.