This essay will present the youth welfare in Australia and the programs for the young people and juvenile justice system which is based on three broad models. Then, the link between youth welfare and juvenile justice system and also the effectiveness of relationship between two systems will be mentioned. In addition, the role of social worker in juvenile justice systems will be followed. There is a scope of youth welfare across Australia’s states and Territories .
Regardless of growing debate among youth theorists and practitioners concerning the age limitation to understand the youth lives and also in the organization and provision of community services, age is one of an important considerations.
As juvenile justice legislation most commonly refers age group is 10?17 year olds. McClelland et al. 1998 states that about 187,000 of the age group were not in labour force and in education. Some of them are homeless and some are in various kinds of institutions.
He also mentions that a total of 2584 participants at the age of 15 to 19 responded that they were guests, inmates or other type of residents in institutions which include juvenile justice institutions.
A comprehensive outline of programs related to the welfare or wellbeing of young people would include programs related to family and adolescent support, child protection, accommodation, education and training, employment, literacy, life skills, disability, homelessness, suicide prevention, early intervention and youth health There are many government activities and programs in various areas related to the youth welfare.
Family support service, education and training and health services are vital.
Sometime Government have relatively defined policies for families and children but youth policies are not defined very clear or so well-articulated. Education and training for youth people are to be provided where the young people problematic areas occur such as drug use, law and order issue which are considered ‘at risk’. Comprehensive policies directed towards enhancing or facilitating the welfare of all young people are less common.
AIHW, 2005 argued that Attorney- General Department funds to the specific youth services for the Adolescent Mediation and Family Therapy sub-program which aims to prevent youth homelessness; the Supported Accommodation and Assistance Program (SAAP) as it relates to homeless young people; and a number of initiatives for young people with a disability. There have been major developments in some areas which related to young people such as mental health and youth suicide prevention. A range of strategies have planned to promote the mental health of youth people by the National Mental Health.
And also the national youth suicide prevention strategy provides funds for full range of activities such as research, program development, crisis intervention and support primary care services, education and training, and community development and support. Some states and territories are starting to apply the policies for further development and identification of good practice in relation to with high risk or most vulnerable young people. Example, services for high risk juveniles who have been on a juvenile justice order and who have not been are in placement and support services are reviewed in Victoria (Victoria DHS, 1997).
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And also South Australia has recently started to develop an incorporated approach to young people a risk in contact with community services (South Australia DFCS 1997). Australia juvenile justice system is influenced by three broad approaches in recent times. Over a few decades, States and Territories have come to adopt systems of juvenile justice characterised by criminologists as consistent with a justice model as opposed to previous approaches based on a welfare model.
More recently, some States have adopted elements of the New Zealand model of juvenile justice and incorporated aspects of ‘reintegrative shaming’ ( Braithwaite ,1989). The welfare model found difficulties in absorbing the concept of a favourable children’s court. The children’s court functioned often on the basis of option which meant that there was no clear line drawn between children who committed an offence and children that simply needed protection and care. This issue made the children’s court decision making somehow approximate rather than clear.
The third model, named the justice model in which the legal sentence is directly proportional with the gravity of the offence committed by the juveniles is aiming to make individuals accountable in front of the law and of the society of the acts that they committed. This third model is working effectively in the Australian juvenile justice, positively influencing the restoration of victims and also increases the reintegration of the offenders back within societies. The drift from one model to another had as a result the decrease of juvenile criminality in most of the States and Territories.
The systems include formal and informal ways of managing juvenile issues that are implemented by police cautions but if they do get to court, there are programs that can solve this by giving community service hours and other community activities These have the aims to reintegrate the individuals into the communities and also to teach them that each action has a consequence. The system also increased the participation of the parents in solving the issues that led to the offending. Legally, in some states, parents are obliged to take responsibilities for the children’s offences.
Furthermore in some states were implemented in the same time with restoration, background that will increase the effective result such as conferencing, reconciliation or group youth conferencing. The causes of juvenile offending and theories of criminality are being argued. However, not just consideration, there are relationships between juvenile offending and other factors such as family supports for children young people, child protection issues, youth income support and accommodation. According to the extent of which issues are addressed in juvenile justice system, can differ the approaches to juvenile justice.
Especially in a climate of great concern for youth law and order, justice models are to be promoted as emphasis on justice systems responding to the offending behaviour rather than on broad welfare issues in general leaving less scope for preventive programs. The distinction between welfare and justice issues is sometimes hard to maintain; offending behaviour is frequently associated with broader ‘welfare’ issues and, despite the different mandates of juvenile justice systems and child protection systems, all justice systems incorporate varying degrees of attention to some welfare issues.
The Keys Young survey of programs and supports for young people in detention reported increasing recognition by some juvenile justice authorities of the diversity of needs of some young people in detention (Keys Young Pty Ltd 1997:66). However, juvenile justice systems are also concerned with punishment, either detention, supervised community service/work or other undertakings that have an element of compulsion. They are also increasingly concerned with reparation. These elements do not always sit easily with attention to broad (or specific) welfare issues.
In addition, the work cultures and the nature of the workforce in juvenile justice are different from those of child protection systems. Protocols have been developed between juvenile justice and child protection systems in a number of States. While the aim is effective coordination of case management and delivery of appropriate services to young people, there are some challenging issues around separate and/or dual responsibility in case management and some acknowledged practical difficulties in coordination across the two systems.
Practice guidelines in a number of States indicate a view that it is not a desirable situation for young people’s welfare or protective needs to be first identified through the juvenile justice system, although it is recognised that this does occur. It is generally acknowledged that there are areas where the effectiveness of links between youth welfare and juvenile justice systems and, as a consequence, outcomes for young people could be improved.
First, some groups can access limited welfare services which can increase the likelihood of young people’s involvement with the justice system. There are often very limited service options available for 12?15 year olds who are under either guardianship or non-guardianship orders and have a history of placement breakdowns. Included in this group are some who, particularly in an environment of limited resources, are sometimes regarded by care and protective authorities as ‘too difficult’ or as able to cope by themselves and who might consequently become juvenile justice clients.
In addition, sometimes young people may be imprisoned to secure care, for example, placed in an institutional setting pending further action, due to a combination of offending and ‘at-risk’ issues which happen especially if they are homeless. Accommodation is often a key issue for young people’s stability and life chances and magistrates sometimes decide for a custody option where the young person will at least be clothed and fed and have access to some services (South Australia DHS 2010).
Inadequate attention to care and protection matters for younger children, and to family support and early intervention over a period of time, can result in young people being regarded as uncontrollable. If community services departments’ support services fails or breaks down for any reason, children may have committed some offence by the time they are in early adolescence and from this time drift into the juvenile justice system.
Young people’s welfare issues may not be picked up if they receive a juvenile justice order, such as a fine or good behaviour bond, which does not require supervision by juvenile justice authorities. Young people who are imprisoned to secure care and have not had prior contact with a community services department are not always identified as needing specialist services. Some States are moving towards identifying such young people. For example, the South Australian Department of Human Services has set down criteria for identifying a ‘Vulnerable Young Person’ in the above circumstances who requires further assessment.
The criteria reflect the salience of ‘welfare’ needs for young people who are aged under 15 years and homeless, aged under 15 years and without parent or family support, and experiencing significant problems in functioning due to either substance abuse, intellectual disability, mental health issues, physical disability or extreme behaviours (South Australia DHS 1997). After all, this paper will present the role of social worker with juvenile before the case in court, during the court and after court. When a child conflict the law, social worker have to deal with the police and child’s family at the same time.
Social worker might need to contact the child’s family and educate them to work together with police and explains them the rights of the child and family member including legal representation (Judicial Service of Ghana, 2007). Then, social worker should take the possible process that the juvenile can go through. And also, social worker need to consider that the process that he/she took is not neglect the rights of juvenile which include protecting the juvenile from harm and not to put him/her among adult defendants and not imprisoned for long time in police custody.
During the court social worker will plays two roles, one as the board member and the other as the friend of juvenile. So social worker need to friendly with the juvenile as much as he/ she can. By doing this, juvenile is encouraged to stand at court without fear. Social worker need to writes and submits a social Enquiry Report. After trial, the role of social worker is depending on the sentence of court.
If the juvenile is incarcerated, the social worker will continue with supervision and counselling process which can help the juvenile to understand and accept the condition that is very important for him/ her to rehabilitate. If the juvenile is in the probation homes and the industrial schools, social worker needs to help him/her to continue if the juvenile is in the system. Social worker should also encourage the family members to visit the juvenile and helping in his/her reformation. Write a report on juvenile and submitting to the head office is also a duty of social worker (Judicial Service of Ghana, 2007).
In conclusion, this paper has mentioned the youth welfare programs which are running under government and non-government services. After that, juvenile justice system and its trend and models were presented with some evident and example. And also current juvenile justice system in some states and territory were mentioned. Moreover, this essay explored the relation between two systems and some effectiveness for the young people in juvenile justice system. Finally, role of social worker in juvenile justice court was stated.