New senior youth outreach staff join youth reform

The next step in the Northern Territory’s youth justice reform program was taken last week when the first group of Senior Youth Outreach and Re-engagement Officers (YOREOs) celebrated the completion of their five-week training.

At a ceremony in Darwin, the nine newly-appointed team members, and four other new YOREO recruits, were presented with their training certificates by Territory Families CEO Ken Davies.

The Senior YOREOs will provide supervision and case management support for young people and their families, particularly those are on court-ordered supervision, and engage them in positive behaviours through social activities, outreach programs, and other early intervention and/or diversionary measures.

The appointment of Senior YOREOs marks the transition of the final responsibilities in the youth justice space to Territory Families. The positions were created under the amendment to the Youth Justice Act, which comes into effect on January 1.  Three of the positions are based in Palmerston, three in Alice Springs with one each in Nhulunbuy, Katherine and Tennant Creek.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, CEO Ken Davies said that as the very first Senior YOREOs, the graduates were the start of a new approach to supporting young people who are already in the criminal justice system.

“We are shifting the focus away from punitive compliance towards supervision and case management and engaging young people in making positive life choices that put them on a better path to the future - tailored interventions specific to the young person’s strengths, capabilities and cultural needs.

“We need passionate, hardworking people like you, “ he told the graduates “if we are to make a real difference in the lives of our young people.  Few things can be more important for a society than raising its next generation.”

Graduating youth outreach officers