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Initiate

Children and Prison Program

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These statistics paint a tragic picture, but one that is clear in terms of the risk factors and the suggestion that most children who end up in prison were on the trajectory long before they were old enough to commit a crime.

Since 2013 with Dusseldorp Forum, VFFF has provided support towards reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the justice system. Among a range of grants, we continue to work closely with community members in Dubbo and Bourke that are bravely doing things differently.

Since commencing, $2.9m has been committed to the Children and Prison Program.

Organisations and activities supported include: Aboriginal Legal ServiceEternity AidBackTrack YouthworksBirrang Enterprise Development CompanyHuman Rights Law Centre, Jobs Australia EnterpriseShine for KidsWeave Youth & Community Services, Maranguka/Justice Reinvest NSW.

The story so far – Dubbo Children and Prison Program

In April 2014, we conducted discussions with local people in Dubbo, which has high rates of youth recidivism as well as thriving young Aboriginal people, to identify ways to increase the number of those on positive pathways and reduce the numbers in and out of custody.

The resulting report, Dubbo Conversations taps into local knowledge and experiences to reveal practical insights and suggestions about what works, what is needed and what can be done – to change the path of children on track for juvenile incarceration.

One of the main findings of Dubbo Conversations was that improved service coordination and collaboration was considered as a high potential means of improving the outcomes for young people getting into trouble. This was the impetus for the establishment of the Dubbo Children and Prison Working Group in August 2015, bringing together those identified in Dubbo Conversations as important and effective in supporting young people. This Working Group is working together to reduce the number of Dubbo Aboriginal young people aged 10 – 25 years entering custody, through various initiatives.

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Sources for statistics: 2009 Young People in custody Health Survey, NSW Department of Human Services, Juvenile Justice; 2012 Report into the Bail Act in NSW; and 2011 NSW Audit Office Report.

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Latest Grants

  • The Girls and Boys Brigade
    $426,000 towards the Strategic Fundraising Resources Project, nurturing a fundraising culture and implementing a fundraising team to ensure success.
  • Alpha Australia
    $240,000 over three years towards the expansion of the Alpha Australia Youth Series, helping young people explore and discuss Christian faith.
  • Outward Bound Australia
    $124,520 in capacity building support, for the development of Outward Bound's community work.
  • Schools Industry Partnership
    $50,000 towards the Western Sydney expansion of Inspiring the Future, connecting schools with volunteers from the world of work.
  • Phunktional
    $30,000 towards Beyond the Walls, empowering young people in custody through Community Arts and Cultural Development.
  • Australian Council of Social Service
    $50,000 towards Raise the Rate, a campaign to increase the Newstart Allowance, which has not increased in real terms in 24 years.