Program keeping young out of prison reaps rewards

Program keeping young out of prison reaps rewards

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Staff from the Youth Partnership Project’s backbone team, including Matty Knight, Shan Nicholas, Chloe Calyon, Kerry Haynes, Isaiah Maji, Ashton Kealy, Ruth Moore, Hannah Woodward and Adrian Tanner.

A project that involves working with youth who are at risk and have complex needs, was announced as a finalist in the WA youth awards.

The Youth Partnership Project (YPP) brings state and local government together with the not-for-profit community sector to improve outcomes for young people with complex needs.

The initiative was established in 2014 to change the pattern of youth offending across Perth’s South East corridor.

At the time one in four young people entering Banksia Hill Detention Centre came from the South East corridor, with most young people returning to youth detention within 12 months.

These statistics made it clear that the system was not working and a better approach was needed.

YPP developed a new approach, which was piloted in Armadale in 2018 and 2019.

By drawing on data from across the sector, YPP can specifically target youth before their circumstances become too serious.

The initiative uses consistent positive relationships to assist young people and their family’s access support they need to change their path.
Partnerships with services already working in the community are vital to the approach taken by YPP.

Through the planning and delivery of community services, the project can provide evidence that contributes to government strategy and policy.

YPP is premised on the theory that if the correct support is offered to the right young people at the time it will save costs on statutory services and young people will thrive in their local communities.

The YPP in 2021 is working in both Gosnells and Armadale, with funding from the Paul Ramsey Foundation and the Department of Justice.

A spokesperson from YPP said the team is excited about the nomination because it recognises years of hard work.

“We’re really excited because in some ways this is a culmination of six years of work with young people and services in the area, and the project is approaching a turning point,” she said.

“We are needing to move from pilot funding to something more sustainable and long term.”