Dusseldorp Forum and Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation have partnered with members of the Dubbo community to provide support towards reducing the over representation of Aboriginal children in the juvenile justice system in NSW.
The Children and Prison Program in Dubbo has been created in response to extensive research and consultation.
Following advice from a community, government and NFP sector Reference Group, Dubbo was chosen as the place to focus the program. Dubbo is a hub for Aboriginal communities in the Western NSW region and has both high rates of youth incarceration as well as a sizeable number of thriving young Aboriginal people. It was suggested that comparisons between these two groups would help identify ways to increase the number of young people on positive pathways and reduce the numbers in custody.
The result of subsequent discussions with 90 community members and service providers, including young people, families and agency representatives in Dubbo, is summarised in the report, Dubbo Conversations. To read the report, click here.
The research found there is no lack of programs to assist youth in Dubbo and there are a number of local Aboriginal leaders and champions who are driving change, but often in isolation of each other. “Continuity, co-ordination and access” were identified as the key areas for immediate support.
In mid 2015, Dusseldorp and VFFF committed to the Children and Prison Program, a three-year initiative that pulls together a collective of key organisations including police, NGO’s legal and community services to work on the common goal of reducing the number of young people coming into contact with the juvenile justice system. The Program has provided $550,000 over three years for high potential local activities and local project coordination and support.
I hope that the learning and trust we are building up as a group emboldens us to take brave action to keep young people out of the justice system and in our community.