Member for Franklin
23 August 2016 [6.13 p.m.]

Mrs PETRUSMA (Franklin – Minister for Human Services) – Madam Speaker, I  rise this evening to provide an update on the important work being done by  the Department of Health and Human Services with the development of a  youth at risk strategy.

Sadly, many of the young people who end up engaged in our Youth Justice  Services come from backgrounds of significant trauma and have experienced  numerous system failures. That is why help, support and guidance for  parents and extended families is also particularly important and must come  from many parts of our community, whether from neighbours, schools,  medical practitioners, community service providers, as well as from many  government agencies.

In recognition of the need for collaborative as well as connected support,  in April this year the Government announced the development of our $200,000 Youth at Risk Strategy to outline how future government services will  be delivered to at risk young people. Not just those people interacting  with the Youth Justice System, but also those young people who are  struggling with homelessness, mental health, drug and alcohol issues or  generally engaging in risk-taking behaviour.

A key component of this strategy is also the development of an options  paper for custodial youth detention in Tasmania. The Youth at Risk  Strategy will put greater emphasis on education, health and safety for all  young people at risk, so as to support their development as important  members of their own communities. Noetic Consultants have been engaging  widely to understand the range of current positive interactions,  interventions and challenges for at-risk youth and the differing  perspectives of various stakeholder groups. Multiple consultation  sessions have been held right across the state and this week further  sessions are being held, including last night in Hobart. Noetic has also  spoken to young people resident at Ashley and their families, as well as a  range of young people from community groups across the state including the  LGBTI community, the Aboriginal community and the Local Government  Association advisory groups. Noetic have also held individual sessions  with the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commissioner for Children and Young  People, relevant unions, the TAC and key non-government organisations  including Save the Children and Whitelion.

The Youth at Risk Strategy and the $20.6 million redesign of our child  protection system also align with a number of reforms occurring across  government such as Safe Families Tasmania, Joined Up Human Services,  Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy and the Youth Suicide Prevention  Plan. In addition, the range of services currently provided across the  state for young people at risk are being mapped in conjunction with  TasCOSS and service gaps, as well as any duplications, are being  identified. This work by TasCOSS is an essential body of work to ensure  that services are well coordinated so that we can identify risk and  intervene earlier. This will provide us with the best opportunity to  prevent young people from entering the community or the custodial youth  justice systems.

Lastly, I am delighted that so many [Bookmark: OLE_LINK1] Children and  Youth Services staff have contributed so enthusiastically in this process.  In particular I would like to place on the record my thanks to the senior  managers of Children and Youth Services, including the director of  Services to Young People, Karen Jabbour, who has provided strong,  passionate leadership of this important project as well as the change  management process at Ashley, Mark Mason, the project manager, who has  spent many hours travelling around Tasmania gathering feedback from many  people, and the staff at Ashley who have also shown their commitment to  improving services at Ashley for young at-risk Tasmanians by strongly  engaging in the consultation process. I am confident that under this  strategy by the Government, the community, community sector organisations  and families and young people all working collaboratively, that we will be  able to make a big difference to the lives of young people in Tasmania.