Four new Indigenous Youth and Family Workers will hit the ground to help address youth crime in Cairns under a new trial aimed at diverting young people away from crime.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said almost $1 million in funding over two years would be provided to the WuChopperren Health Service to extend their Family and Wellbeing Service.
“The Cairns community has a right to feel safe, and expects young people to be accountable for their actions,” she said.
“The best way to keep the community safe is by preventing young people from offending and reoffending in the first place, which is what this new investment will help to deliver.”
Ms Farmer said WuChopperren Health Service were well placed to provide this service as they are already working extensively throughout the community.
“With this funding for extra staff, WuChopperen Health Service will be more able to respond to families with children are at risk of, or already in contact with the youth justice system, especially those at risk of being remanded,” she said.
“Providing support to families with young people can be challenging at the best of times, but is particularly challenging when they are involved or at risk of being involved in crime.
“These Indigenous Youth and Family Workers will foster connections with youth justice and youth support services to make sure families coming to the attention of these systems can more easily access the support they need.
“They will also help develop family-based responses to make sure young people who have been arrested can access bail and avoid being detained.”
WuChopperen CEO Dania Ahwang said the new program would strengthen family units and ultimately the community as well.
“We want to work to inspire our young people to challenge themselves, knowing they can achieve more than they thought possible,” she said.
“We are looking forward to working with the Queensland Government and other community stakeholders.”
The Cairns and overall state funding is part of a more than $320 million tranche of reforms to keep Queensland communities safe while steering at-risk young people away from crime, following on from the Queensland Government’s Youth Justice Strategy, announced late last year.