Department of Human Services

Youth Justice State Plan 2020–2023 Progress Update

South Australia’s Youth Justice State Plan 2020–2023 was released in June 2020, with forty projects identified under six service design themes setting our strategic priorities for 2020–23.

The State Plan was developed following extensive community consultation, including with the cross-agency Connected Youth Journey Lab. It incorporates recommendations from the Training Centre Visitor and the Ombudsman SA.

The State Plan governance framework includes Ministerial oversight and an Executive Steering Group to support collaborative practice and delivery. Two steering committees have been established to oversee the development and implementation of key deliverables. A further Steering Committee is being established in partnership with Aboriginal communities and organisations.

Progress Update Overview

Progress Update Overview

Significant reforms in Youth Justice Services over the last 12 to 18 months include:

  • prohibiting the use of resident-worn spit protection (RWSP)
  • dynamic accommodation model trial at Kurlana Tapa
  • Community Service Order (CSO) Program procurement and transition
  • investment in new technologies (body-worn cameras and installation of body scanners at Kurlana Tapa) to increase the safety of staff, children and young people, and visitors, as well as to reduce the need for partially clothed searches
  • opening of the Aboriginal Cultural Trail and Connection Space at Kurlana Tapa
  • release of the Youth Justice Assessment and Intervention Services Disability Screening
    Assessment report
  • implementation of the early intervention with young men program initiative for young men and young parenting men who use family violence.

A number of independent reviews have been commissioned at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre to identify areas for improvement.
Other projects underway include the consolidation of services at the Goldsborough Road campus, Enhanced Support Team pilot, and development of a sensory modulation framework.

Work has also commenced on a Practice Framework alongside the development of the Aboriginal Cultural Framework, encompassing an end-to-end case management model, assessment, intervention and transition. This aims to ensure consistent approaches and strong links to community that are strong enough to last beyond their time in the justice system.

In February 2021, DHS finalised organisational structural changes to align our structure and resources to our priorities and outcomes. Youth Justice Services is now part of the Community and Family Services Division of DHS, led by Ann-Marie Hayes. This gives Youth Justice Services stronger connections with other services, which will lead to better collaboration, more effective service delivery and better outcomes for the people we work with, particularly our focus on reducing the number of Aboriginal children and young people in youth detention, in line with Closing the Gap priority reform areas and targets.

Progress Update May 2021

Progress Update May 2021

Progress on State Plan deliverables is detailed here. Some projects have been delayed, in part due to project resource impacts arising from COVID. Where new timelines are required, this is shown in the last column. Some of the actions are happening within the Practice Framework and Consolidation program of work. Where this occurs, information is included in the status report.


1. Young people’s wellbeing – Young people’s safety and wellbeing is at the heart of our services.

#

Project

Status

Lead

Timeframe

1.1

Continue delivering on actions in line with recommendations from the Ombudsman SA and Training Centre Visitor recommendations.

In progress. Improvements made to increase the safety of staff
and young people at Kurlana Tapa include:

  • Use of resident worn spit protection was prohibited by the Department of Human Services (DHS) from 1 July 2020. Staff-worn protective equipment is available, and staff have been trained in techniques to
    de-escalate challenging behaviours and reduce incidents.
  • Minimum periods for recreational and exercise time for residents out of their bedroom have been set, with increased frequency of reviews for those on a Restricted Routine (at least every three hours). Professional and domestic visits and phone calls are not considered part of minimum scheduled exercise or recreation periods.
  • A trial of body-worn cameras commenced on 6 April 2020. Body-worn cameras are activated during, or in anticipation of, an incident to capture video and audio. Initial benefits were observed during the trial, and a full analysis of the trial is in progress.
  • An Enhanced Support Team at Kurlana Tapa is being created to pilot a model of therapeutic care to strengthen supports for children and young people with complex needs.
  • Independent review of the use of isolation, segregation and use of force was conducted between February and May 2020. Advice from the report is being used to improve practices.
  • Full-size body scanning technology at Kurlana Tapa to reduce the need for partially clothed searches.
  • An electronic logging system has been implemented to improve operational monitoring and record-keeping.

DHS

Ongoing

1.2

Develop and deliver a consolidated Programs Framework and Delivery Plan in partnership with the sector that addresses areas of priority needs and support.

In progress. The Programs Framework will form part of the Youth Justice Services Practice Framework, encompassing cultural practice, an end-to-end case management model, assessment, intervention and transition. It aims to support consistent approaches and strong links to community throughout and beyond their time in youth justice.

DHS

31 December 2022

1.3

Implement improvements identified in the Youth Justice Assessment and Intervention Services Disability Screening project, to ensure assessment and intervention needs are met in a timely manner.

In progress. A disability screening tool / process is currently being considered as part of the assessment project (1.4).

A Sensory Modulation Framework is being developed to provide children and young people with the knowledge and resources to help them understand their own sensory processing needs and to develop self-regulation skills. The Framework will include a set of practical recommendations on how to modify environments to respond to the varied sensory processing needs of children and young people
in custody.

Work has also commenced on the following initiatives:

  • Improving Communication Access project.
  • Review of disability informed policy and practice.

DHS

31 December 2022

1.4

Design and implement a revised assessment approach incorporating information sharing between agencies, including specifically considering the needs of Aboriginal young people, young people with disability, LGBTIQA+ people, people from CALD backgrounds, individual criminogenic risks and needs, past trauma, learning needs, and understanding the impact of crime.

In progress. A revised assessment approach incorporating possible new tools and information sharing is being developed. This deliverable is being incorporated in the Practice Framework project.

DHS

31 December 2022

1.5

Work with service partners to formalise, resource, monitor and review connections with existing family-focused programs and services, including those specifically designed for young parents and
family engagement.

In progress. Safer Family Services (SFS) works with service partners to deliver family focused programs including those specifically designed for young parents and family engagement.

The Early Intervention Research Directorate also commissions and funds a range of targeted and intensive early intervention and parent support programs operated by the not-for-profit sector to reduce risk, strengthen families, and prevent children from entering the statutory children protection system.

Youth Justice Services' ongoing engagement with Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations is informing formal partnership opportunities working with children and their families

DHS

31 December 2022

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2. Workforce stability and investment – We equip our people to understand and support young people, their needs, networks and culture.

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Project

Status

Lead

Timeframe

2.1

Implement a new staffing structure, with clearer areas of responsibility and governance for Youth Justice.

Completed. New staffing structures have been implemented.

DHS

30 June 2020

2.2

Increase recruitment and retention of Aboriginal staff.

In progress. The DHS Aboriginal Recruitment Guide for undertaking culturally inclusive recruitment has been launched. This was developed with the Principal Aboriginal Workforce Consultant and will inform employment strategies for Youth Justice Services.

On 28 May 2021, the DHS Aboriginal Workforce Strategy was launched. It will guide the development of the Youth Justice Aboriginal recruitment and retention strategy.

A new role, Senior Manager, Aboriginal Practice and Partnerships, was created to provide senior leadership and strategic advice within the department. The role drives strategy and service design focused on building culturally led and responsive services. Aboriginal people engaged in leadership positions in Youth Justice Services increased during 2020.

Kurlana Tapa staff lead targeted Aboriginal recruitment drives during recruitment periods.

DHS

31 December 2023

2.3

Review internal staff communication processes to identify opportunities for improving information sharing, learning and development and
staff engagement.

Completed. The following processes have been set up to improve communication with and between staff:

  • Workforce development committee, to assess, develop and monitor training and staff development.
  • Workforce tool ‘Teamgage’ is used by DHS staff to assist to identify areas for improvement and provide feedback.

Youth Justice Services has joined the Community and Family Services Division of DHS to strengthen service alignment.

DHS

30 June 2020.

This work is
informing business as usual (BAU)

2.4

Implement an enhanced training agenda for staff including priority focus in the areas of trauma responsiveness, cultural safety, Aboriginal languages, disability, substance misuse and family inclusive practice.

In progress. The Youth Justice Workforce Development Committee has identified training requirements for Youth Justice Services as identified in 2.3.

The enhanced training agenda will focus on key areas and will be embedded within the Practice Framework.

DHS

31 December 2022

2.5

Invest in modern technologies, such as body scanners and body-worn cameras, to strengthen safety and security of staff and young people at Kurlana Tapa.

Completed. Body-Worn Cameras have been trialled and body scanners have been installed at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre. A full analysis of the body-worn cameras trial is underway, with initial positive benefits being seen. Installation of full body scanners has resulted in no partially clothed body searches being conducted.

DHS

31 December 2020, ongoing business as usual

2.6

Deliver evidence-based models of therapeutic care which incorporate specialist allied health expertise.

In progress. An Enhanced Support Team is being established at Kurlana Tapa to provide therapeutic care and management of young people with complex needs in the centre.

DHS

31 December 2023

2.7

Contribute to a Communities of Practice approach, where skills and knowledge are shared among service partners.

Not commenced.

Joint

30 June 2022

2.8

Build capacity and staff morale through improving formalised development pathways for all staff, shared professional development opportunities, mobility options, formalised staff recognition and capability mapping.

In progress. This work is being led by the Youth Justice Workforce Development Committee. A review of the culture and workplace at Kurlana Tapa was completed in January 2021. Recommendations are currently being examined and an action plan is being developed.

DHS

31 December 2021

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3. Connected services – We provide holistic, flexible and connected services to achieve positive lived experiences and lasting outcomes for children and young people, families and communities.

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Project

Status

Lead

Timeframe

3.1

Improve diversionary and statutory practice through partnerships with the Attorney-General’s Department, Courts Administration Authority, Department for Correctional Services, and the South Australia Police.

In progress. South Australia is implementing a state-wide Custody Notification Scheme. The scheme will provide a holistic wellbeing check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people held in police custody, with or without charge, and by doing so reduce preventable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody and related harm.

DHS, in partnership with SAPOL, will trial a service model to provide an alternative location for police custody for children and young people aged 10–13 years, rather than accommodation at Kurlana Tapa.

DHS

31 December 2023

3.2

Partner with Community Services, including Metropolitan Aboriginal Youth and Family Services (MAYFS) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, to effectively respond to the needs of Aboriginal children and young people.

In progress. An Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation Forum was held in April 2021 to strengthen and initiate information-sharing and partnership opportunities between Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and Youth Justice Services, to effectively respond to the needs of Aboriginal children and young people, their families, and communities. Three further forums will be held in 2021 (two in regional locations) where the cultural framework will be discussed further.

DHS

December 2022

3.3

Partner with the Department for Child Protection to better meet the needs of dual clients.

Completed. DHS developed a shared action plan in partnership with DCP to strengthen connections and work towards better outcomes for children and young people in both the youth justice and child protection systems.

DHS

30 June 2021, ongoing business as usual

3.4

Deliver a targeted approach for school re-engagement through the Youth Education Centre.

In progress. Youth Justice Services has partnered with the Department for Education on a shared action plan, including targeted approaches for school re-engagement.

DHS

31 October 2021

3.5

Work collaboratively to increase shared accountability for information sharing, consistent approaches, identification of challenges and elimination of duplication when working with children and young people in the youth
justice system.

In progress. This outcome is being addressed through the Practice Framework project, in collaboration with partner agencies.

DHS

31 December 2022

3.6

Strengthen end-to-end case management and ensure the young person’s voice is at the centre of assessment, planning and
service delivery.

In progress. This outcome is being addressed through the Practice Framework project.

DHS

31 December 2022

3.7

Further develop and market the Youth Justice Victims’ Register to empower victims of crime and consider their voices in understanding the impacts
of crime.

Completed. Updated public information, including a new registration form, is available on the DHS website.

Youth Justice Services is a member on the Commissioner for Victims Rights Consultative Committee. This will strengthen the rights of victims and provide opportunities for supporting children and young people in understanding the impact of crime on victims.

DHS

31 December 2020

3.8

Work with the Youth Education Centre to increase accessibility of education for all children and young people in custody including those with learning difficulties, disability, trauma, disadvantage, or placed on restricted routines.

In progress. Youth Justice Services is working closely with the Department for Education on a shared action plan, including increasing accessibility of education for all children and young people in custody.
The upgrade and consolidation of the facilities at Kurlana Tapa includes an additional education space.

DHS

30 June 2021 ongoing business as usual

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4. Aboriginal cultural connection – We will ensure the voices of Aboriginal communities inform and promote strong connection to family, communities, culture, country and language.

#

Project

Status

Lead

Timeframe

4.1

Support Aboriginal children and young people to identify their own cultural pathways as custodians of their own stories, including through shared use of cultural tools across services (for example, Circles of Trust cultural engagement tool and the My Journey individual cultural pathway tool).

In progress. The Circles of Trust tool has been reviewed and a Cultural Framework is under development.

The cultural framework and Practice Framework will be discussed further with ACCOs

DHS

December 2022

4.2

Finalise the Youth Justice Aboriginal Engagement Plan to formalise how we bring the voices of Aboriginal communities into all activities supporting Aboriginal young people, their families and their communities.

In progress. The Aboriginal Engagement Plan will be finalised in partnership with Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations.

DHS

31 December 2021

4.3

Deliver an Elders visiting program in Kurlana Tapa and explore a community-based equivalent.

In progress. Programs are being developed in partnership with the DHS Aboriginal Community Reference Group and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.

DHS

31 December 2021

4.4

Engage young people and community to design and develop an Aboriginal cultural trail and cultural connection space at Kurlana Tapa.

Completed. The cultural trail has been designed in collaboration with Aboriginal Elders, children and young people. The Cultural Trail and Connection space was officially opened on 23 February 2021.

DHS

30 June 2020

4.5

Build on the learnings from Narungga Nations pilot cultural connection program as an exemplar for further cultural connection initiatives.

In progress. Evaluation planning is under consideration.

DHS

31 December 2023

4.6

Work with communities and partners to increase learning of language and culture in Kurlana Tapa.

In progress. Discussions have commenced with the Department for Education to implement learning of language in Kurlana Tapa.

DHS

30 June 2022

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5. Reconnection with community – We are clear on our role in supporting children and young people and to connect to community, while maintaining community safety and acknowledging the impact on victims of crime.

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Project

Status

Lead

Timeframe

5.1

Strengthen pathways for children and young people’s access to targeted training and employment opportunities through increased partnerships with the Department for Innovation and Skills.

Not commenced.

DHS

30 June 2022

5.2

Design and adopt a set of agreed dashboards of outcome measures with our partners that will be used to monitor change for young people under this State Plan and use these to inform where we invest further resources.

In progress. Shared outcome measures are under consultation with partner agencies.

DHS

30 June 2021

5.3

With advice from the Training Centre Review Board, and in consultation with Aboriginal community, review the policies on leave from Kurlana Tapa (section 34 and 40 YJAA), and the process to support Conditional Release applications, to strengthen transition
to community.

In progress. Relevant internal processes have been reviewed, with a view to informing consultation with key stakeholders including staff, and the Training Centre Review Board.

DHS

30 June 2021

5.4

Leverage existing community programs (including those commissioned in the non-government sector) to better utilise pro social, sports and recreational activity for young people.

Completed. This work is occurring as part of the case management approach in Youth Justice Services.

DHS

30 June 2021

5.5

Develop a communications strategy to improve public knowledge, with the view to fostering more positive community re-integration for young people exiting custody.

In progress. Work is underway within DHS to finalise a communications strategy.

DHS

31 October 2021

5.6

Bolster service delivery across government and non-government agencies to support the crucial 24–48 hours post-release.

In progress. Post release planning is being considered as part of the Practice Framework project, utilising insights from the Connected Youth Journey Lab.

DHS

31 October 2021

5.7

Implement a Youth Justice Advisory Board comprising young people with lived experience across the youth justice system, to further embed the voices of young people in youth justice service delivery and decision-making.

In progress. Work has commenced. The Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Advisory Committee and relevant Commissioners will be consulted to inform the approach for the implementation of a Youth Advisory Board.

DHS

31 October 2021

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6. Business intelligence – We are committed to improvement in the collection, sharing and analysis of data for decision-making and research.

#

Project

Status

Lead

Timeframe

6.1

Review and improve client feedback processes to continuously inform practice effectiveness.

In progress. Improvements to the Community Youth Justice client feedback form are being finalised to ensure that client disability, cultural and complex needs are met. A client survey is being developed at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre to help with continuous improvement.

A range of improvement opportunities have been identified, and planning is underway to prioritise and implement these. Further work is to occur as part of the consolidation project.

DHS

31 October 2021

6.2

Develop a community-informed three-year research agenda to inform practice and innovation through partnerships with universities and the non-government sector and identify opportunities for research translation.

In progress. This outcome is being considered in collaboration with the Early Intervention Research Directorate.

DHS

31 December 2023

6.3

Build a more sophisticated understanding of Youth Justice populations and trends through shared data projects.

In progress. This deliverable is being progressed in collaboration with universities. For example, the University of Adelaide completed research into Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma among young people in the Youth Justice system: A South Australian study, to investigate how ACEs and current manifestations of trauma-related symptoms are associated with behavioural problems and offending pathways among young people supervised by Youth Justice Services.

The final report is being prepared for submission to the funding body to undergo the peer review process.

DHS

30 June 2021

6.4

Ensure business intelligence and data sharing initiatives are on agendas for regular meetings with key service partners to support appropriate information sharing.

Completed. Business Intelligence and data sharing opportunities’ is a standing agenda item on for governance groups and is used to inform other state plan projects.

Further internal reporting systems are currently being developed.

Joint

31 December 2020

6.5

Score requirements for a future-focused case management tool that connects logging requirements across Youth Justice services.

In progress. This work has been incorporated into the Practice Framework project.

DHS

December 2022

6.6

Conduct a micro-pilot as a try-test-learn for roaming tablet use by Youth Justice staff.

Completed. Pilot has occurred and feedback is being reviewed,

DHS

30 June 2021

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