Children and Prison Program
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.
In 2013 with Dusseldorp Forum (DF), VFFF made a commitment to provide philanthropic support towards reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the NSW juvenile justice system. The Children and Prison Program (CAPP) is a hands-on philanthropic program conceived as a three-part framework: LEARN (learning and knowledge, opportunities and collaborators), FUND (grant making), ACT (discussion, consultation, build relationships and raise awareness).
Funding to date
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. The report made recommendations of high potential activities to support, which were endorsed by the Reference Group in March 2015.
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.
The Working Group is mid-way through a 9 month facilitated process to determine how the collective of organisations involved can work together to reduce the number of Dubbo Aboriginal young people aged 10 – 25 years entering custody. This involves building a common understanding of the issue through sharing data and perspectives and agreeing a shared approach, including a plan of action and data measures for ongoing tracking.
Our thanks to Dubbo for its openness and interest in working with us, to our Reference Group members, to the Dubbo Working Group and to Patrick Shepherdson and Elizabeth McEntyre for their work on Dubbo Conversations. Special thanks to Sharon Tomas for working with us from Dubbo.
2016 highlights from Bourke and Dubbo
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.