Our vision for Youth Justice in Victoria is for a leading youth justice system that:

  • reduces offending by children and young people and improves community safety
  • works with others to provide genuine opportunities for children and young people to turn their lives around.

To achieve this we are focusing on four key reform directions:

  1. Improving diversion and supporting early intervention and crime prevention.
  2. Reducing reoffending and promoting community safety by supporting children and young people to turn their lives around.
  3. Strengthening partnerships with children and young people, families and all services and professionals who support their rehabilitation and positive development.
  4. Investing in a skilled, safe and stable Youth Justice system and safe systems of work.

The Victorian Youth Justice system is fortunate to have a dedicated group of staff working with young people in the community who are supervised on a statutory order.

A capable and high performing workforce will mean that young people in Youth Justice are in the best position to turn their lives around and not reoffend.

This plan sets out how we will educate, train and support our community Youth Justice staff to deliver our reform directions.

  • Attraction and foundational learning
  • Ongoing practice and skill development
  • Professional development

How will we work with staff to implement the plan?

  • The plan is informed by consultations with staff.
  • We will work with staff so initiatives are implemented effectively, and to get their views on whether initiatives are having the right impact.
  • Further staff consultations on progress will be held during 2021.

Attraction and foundational learning

We will recruit highly qualified staff by:

  • tailoring our recruitment processes to suit the role and local needs, including proactive talent searches to find the best candidates
  • partnering with local tertiary institutions for student placements to deliver a talent pipeline
  • building a diverse workforce by recruiting staff from CALD backgrounds and who are Aboriginal.

We will improve foundational learning for new community Youth Justice staff by integrating on-the-job learning with a comprehensive three-week induction program, covering the following modules:

  • Introduction to Youth Justice and introduction to DJCS, including required e-learns
  • Screening and assessment tools
  • Courts and sentencing
  • Case management
  • Disability awareness
  • Family violence
  • Mental health
  • Writing for Youth Justice
  • Aboriginal Cultural Awareness 
  • Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct
  • Youth Justice-specific e-learns including YJAS, CRIS, MARAM, mandatory reporting.

We will make sure new staff are fully onboarded by:

  • introducing a comprehensive onboarding process to guide new staff and their supervisor through the required on-the-job learning and to establish their understanding of the local community and service system in which they work
  • delivering a system for self-paced learning and reflective practice on the Youth Justice practice guidelines, including in mental health first aid and applied suicide and self-harm training.

Ongoing practice and skill development

We will keep staff skills current by delivering a calendar of refresher and practice uplift training, including by delivering the following training:

  • START (suicide risk and self harm awareness) refresher
  • Writing for Youth Justice
  • Disability awareness
  • LS/YLS refresher
  • Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct refresher.

We will deepen the practice skills of our existing staff by delivering the following:

  • a COVID-19 response training package, including coaching on remote supervision and staff well-being
  • a training program to assist staff to work with young people from CALD communities, in partnership with the Centre for Multicultural Youth
  • motivational interviewing training
  • mental health training
  • family violence training
  • specialised training in high-risk issues as required, such as Countering Violent Extremism and the Male Adolescent Program for Positive Sexuality
  • case management skills training across a range of issues as they arise, for example on setting boundaries; responding to knife crime; responding to networked offending; managing responsivity; working with families; case formulation and prioritisation; trauma-informed practice; and alcohol and other drugs.

Professional support

We will embed a community of practice for case managers by:

  • establishing an online community of practice as a platform for Youth Justice community staff to share practice, knowledge, resources and success stories
  • improving the channels that allow members to start a conversation with colleagues, share documents and post links to resources.

We will improve leadership and supervision to improve quality and consistency in practice by:

  • delivering leadership training to all community staff with staff supervision responsibilities
  • rolling out a supervision framework for all community staff with supervisory roles.

We will support staff and build skills and understanding across the youth justice system by:

  • introducing a staff shadowing exchange program between community and custody
  • recognising staff achievements through a whole of Youth Justice reward and recognition program and by exploring opportunities for local reward and recognition initiatives.

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