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Respond when a young person is in contact with the youth justice system

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This page was updated on 21 November 2022. To view changes, please see page updates

A young person in contact with the youth justice system is a young person who is referred to a restorative justice conference, sentenced to a community based order or detained in a youth detention centre. It does not refer to a young person who is diverted from the youth justice system when they come to the attention of police.

Further reading

For information about youth justice orders, concepts and processes, refer to the practice guide Youth justice concepts and definitions.

In circumstances where a young person is subject to intervention with parental agreement and in contact with the youth justice system, work collaboratively with the young person’s parents and Youth Justice to provide an effective response to the young person’s needs. This includes sharing relevant information and coordinating the delivery of services to the young person.

Attention

The Youth Justice Act 1992 requires the person with custody or guardianship of the young person to participate in youth justice matters. When a young person is subject to intervention with parental agreement, the young person’s parent is required to participate in all youth justice processes (where a parent is required).

The youth justice case worker is responsible for directly liaising with the child’s parents about all youth justice matters.

Coordinate service delivery for a young person in contact with the youth jutice system

Coordinate service delivery for a young person with Youth Justice and in collaboration with the child’s parents, for the duration the child is subject to intervention with parental agreement and the youth justice system. To do this:

  • Continue to carry out case management responsibility for the young person’s safety, belonging and wellbeing needs.
  • Inform the young person and family of Child Safety’s legal obligation to liaise with Youth Justice. (Refer to Share information with Youth Justice.)
  • Advise the parents about the role of the court liaison officer in providing information to the court about a young person. Refer to Procedure 5 Liaise with a Child Safety court liaison officer.
  • Obtain information from Youth Justice to use in developing or reviewing the young person’s case plan, including completion of the child and parental strengths and needs assessments. 
  • Invite the youth justice case worker to participate in case planning meetings and reviews. Where the youth justice case worker is unable to directly participate in the meeting, ensure that feedback is obtained (for the planning or review process).
  • Consult with the youth justice case worker and the court liaison officer about whether, in addition to the young person’s parents, Child Safety is required to attend youth justice meetings, reviews, conferences and court proceedings.

If a case is referred to the SCAN team, the young person’s youth justice case worker may participate in the meeting as an invited stakeholder. (Refer to the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Team System Manual.)

Attention

Any involvement by Youth Justice in implementing or monitoring an immediate safety plan for a young person is to be negotiated by Child Safety with the youth justice case worker or their line manager.

Share information with Youth Justice

Where Youth Justice requests information to coordinate services for the young person , provide the information in line with the in line with the Child Protection Act 1999, section 189A, and the confidentiality requirements of the Child Protection Act 1999 ,  section 186A.

When sharing information with the young person’s youth justice case worker:

  • Provide information that is necessary for Youth Justice to fulfil its obligations to the court and to provide services to the young person. For example, provide the details of a young person’s child protection history for use in youth justice court proceedings.
  • Advise the outcome of significant decisions, case planning meetings and reviews, including the decision to:
    • place a child using a child protection care agreement
    • reunify a child with a parent at the end of a child protection care agreement
    • apply for a child protection order
    • close an intervention with parental agreement case.
  • Provide information about any critical incident or alerts recorded by Child Safety in relation to the child or family. (Refer to the policy Critical incident reporting.)
  • Help the parents to share information about the child that may affect the child’s offending behaviour or ability to fulfil the requirements of their youth justice order or program. (For example, hospitalisation may prevent the child from fulfilling the conditions of an order.)

Note

Youth Justice maintains case management responsibility for the young person’s youth justice orders and actions associated with completing the order. Involve the youth justice case worker in the intervention with parental agreement case plan by inviting them to be part of the young person’s safety and support network.

This provides increased opportunities for information sharing and an integrated response to the young person—to better support them in meeting their youth justice requirements.

Share information with Youth Justice when a child needs a care arrangement

If, during the intervention with parental agreement, a young person in contact with the youth justice system is taken into the custody of the chief executive, contact the youth justice case worker and:

  • tell them who has custody and guardianship rights and responsibilities for the young person
  • ensure that the youth justice case worker is aware of the process for obtaining decisions or consents about custody or guardianship matters relating to the child.  (Refer to Procedure 5 Determine who has custody or guardianship of the child.)
  • explain that an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young person has the right to have an independent person to facilitate their participation in significant decisions made by Child Safety. (Refer to Procedure 5 Enable participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in decision making.)
  • coordinate service delivery for the period that the young person is in care
  • inform them of the child’s care arrangement details, including any change of address.

When placing a child:

  • Discuss the child’s youth justice obligations and reporting requirements with the child, parents and carers, including matters to be attended to by each party for the duration of the care arrangement.
  • If the child is placed using a child protection care agreement, record the agreed-upon responsibilities in the Care agreement form.

For information on Child Safety’s obligations to participate in youth justice processes when a young person is subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, refer to Procedure 5 Participate in youth justice processes.

For guidance around service delivery for a young person subject to a child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive and who is in contact with the youth justice system, refer to Procedure 5 Coordinate service delivery for a young person in contact with the youth justice system.

Note

Where a youth justice case worker directly participates in the development or review of the case plan for a child and has responsibility for the implementation of certain components of the plan, provide them with a written copy of the plan.

A copy of the child’s case plan should also be given to a youth detention centre upon the child’s admission. 

Take action when a young person is held in watch house custody

If a young person is arrested, police may hold them in a watch house. If a young person is charged with a criminal offence, police may release the young person on bail from the watch house, otherwise the young person will be held in custody and taken to court as soon as possible. Refer to Support a young person seeking bail.

When a young person subject to intervention with parental agreement is being held in watch house custody:

  • Advise the QPS to contact:
    • the young person’s parent, if they have not already done so
    • the young person's youth justice case worker
      or
    • the CSAHSC if it is after hours. The CSAHSC will record the information in ICMS for the relevant CSSCs and the youth justice service centre and will advise the on-call CSSC manager, if required.
  • Contact the youth justice case worker to negotiate a plan for face-to-face and telephone contact with the child for the duration of their detention in watch house custody, if appropriate in the circumstances.
  • Liaise with the young person’s parents.

Practice prompt

If a young person’s criminal behaviour results in frequent arrests or harm to themselves or others, they may require a more intensive response from their safety and support network. For information about how to respond effectively to a young person engaging in recurrent, complex behaviours, refer to the practice guide Safety and support networks and high intensity responses.

Support a young person seeking bail

When a young person is before the Court on a youth justice matter, the Court is able to consider whether a parent, guardian or other person has indicated a willingness to do one or more of the following:  

  • support the young person to comply with the conditions of their bail
  • advise Youth Justice or the QPS of any changes in circumstances that may affect the young person’s ability to comply with the bail conditions
  • advise Youth Justice or the QPS of any breaches of bail by the young person.

Practice prompt

When attending a youth justice court proceeding, make yourself known to relevant people prior to the matter being heard. This may include the youth justice coordinator, the court liaison officer, the young person’s lawyer, the Court registrar, the QPS prosecutor and any Child Safety support staff.

When a young person is subject to intervention with parental agreement and seeking bail:

  • Share information with Youth Justice and the court liaison officer, if one is attached to the court, to ensure all relevant information is available to the court to support decision making. (Refer to Share information with Youth Justice.)
  • Work collaboratively with the parents and Youth Justice staff to negotiate what supports can be put in place to allow the young person to be able to comply with bail conditions and support them to lessen the risk of re-offending.
  • Explore additional supports to increase the young person’s opportunity for bail if the young person’s current living arrangement affects their eligibility for bail.
  • Determine who will attend the bail hearing and provide a verbal submission about Child Safety’s willingness to support a young person to meet the conditions of their bail—this may be the parents or for Child Safety, a court liaison officer, CSO or senior team leader.

Any verbal submission made to the court by Child Safety must be reasonable and achievable and are not to include anything that is unlikely to be achieved or followed through on.

Note

When there is a change in circumstances that that may affect the young person’s ability to comply with bail, or the young person breaches their bail, advise Youth Justice in the first instance. Refer to Respond to a change of circumstances or a breach of bail.

Attend a Youth Justice court proceeding for an indictable offence

In addition to the requirements in Support a young person seeking bail, when attending the youth justice court proceeding for a young person who is charged with a prescribed indictable offence and who is already on bail for an indictable offence:

  • Work with Youth Justice to support the young person to show cause as to why bail should be granted. This means the young person has to show why they should get bail, rather than the prosecution arguing why they should not get bail.
  • Identify members of the young person’s safety and support network who might be able to support and advocate for the young person, especially the young person's carer or residential care staff if the child is subject to a child protection care agreement.
  • Work collaboratively with Youth Justice to ensure the young person has access to support and to services that will assist them meet the conditions of their bail, and where relevant, lessen their risk of re-offending.

Respond to a change in circumstances or a breach of bail

When Child Safety has provided a verbal submission to the Court in relation to supporting the young person to meet the conditions of their bail and there is a change in the young person’s circumstances which may affect their ability to comply with bail or the young person has breached a bail condition:

  • Contact the young person’s youth justice case worker and provide them with the relevant information.
  • Jointly consider whether the situation poses a risk of the young person re-offending or a safety risk to the young person, another person or the community.
  • If risk is identified, decide whether or not the matter will be reported to the QPS and if so, by whom.
  • Coordinate the appropriate case work response to the young person by both Youth Justice and Child Safety.

Note

If information about a breach of bail conditions includes information that someone is at immediate risk of harm, contact the QPS directly.

Implement actions when a young person is subject to a detention order or is remanded in custody

When a young person enters a detention centre, contact the detention centre case worker and arrange an initial visit with the young person. Give the detention centre case worker relevant information about the young person, including:

  • the young person’s strengths and needs, including information in the child strengths and needs assessment
  • the case plan and cultural support plan
  • any diagnoses for the young person and their behaviour support plan, including details of current triggers, recommended responses and strategies to support the young person
  • information about who has guardianship of the young person and the implications for decision making and consent
  • issues likely to impact on the young person’s safety or wellbeing, or the safety of detention centre residents or staff.

Note

A Senior CSO—Youth Justice Liaison based at the youth detention centre will work collaboratively with CSSCs and Youth Justice to

  • facilitate information sharing
  • coordinate the delivery of services for young people who are entering, within or leaving youth detention centres.

While the young person remains in the detention centre, the CSO, in partnership with the young person’s parents, will:

  • maintain regular contact with the young person via face-to-face contact if geographically possible or video-link through the youth detention visits centre if it is not
  • maintain contact with the young person's parent and safety and support network
  • liaise with the detention centre case worker to monitor the young person's progress
  • attend or participate in case planning or review processes
  • attend youth justice court proceedings, if requested by the court
  • respond to issues as requested by detention centre staff or the youth justice case worker
  • participate in support planning for the young person’s transition from detention, including
    • making sure the young person is aware of the plan for their release from detention
    • making sure appropriate community supports are in place for the young person upon release
    • finding and assisting the young person to transition to suitable accommodation
    • working with Youth Justice to arrange for the young person’s transport when leaving the detention centre (or court) when released – this may include the parents or Child Safety staff transporting the young person, where geographically possible and practical.

Consider the best interests and assessed needs of the young person when planning for the young person’s transition from the detention centre, including planning around accommodation and transport. Where costs will be incurred for transporting the young person (except where Child Safety transport the young person), Youth Justice will cover the cost.

Attention

If a young person in detention is to have telephone contact with their CSO, the young person is required to initiate the call at an allocated time during the day. Provide the CSO’s direct telephone number to the detention centre case worker so the young person can call.

When the young person leaves the detention centre, the CSO, in partnership with the young person’s parents, will:

  • attend or participate in any final planning or review meeting with Youth Justice
  • obtain relevant information from the detention centre about the young person's education and medical requirements
  • make sure the young person's basic needs are met in a timely way
  • consider whether the young person's change in circumstances requires a review of their case plan.

Visit or telephone a child in a detention centre

To arrange telephone calls or visits with a young person in a detention centre, contact the detention centre case worker and negotiate an agreed plan and process.

Inform the detention centre case worker of any matters to be discussed with the young person during the visit or telephone call that may have a detrimental effect on the young person’s wellbeing or behaviour.

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