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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

  • Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) & Just Reinvest NSW
    $388,263 to explore expansion of justice reinvestment in NSW.
  • Mirabel Foundation
    $300,000 towards the expansion of the Mirabel team to the Hunter region, to support children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental ilicit drug use and their kinship carers.
  • Youthworks
    $338,000 towards Youth Ministry expansion in Western Sydney and deployment of the Ministry Survey.
  • Country Universities Centre
    $520,049 towards employment of academic mentors across the network - Cooma, Broken Hill, Goulburn, Narrabri, Moree, Grafton, Griffith and Leeton - to support students in academic success.
  • The Royal Hospital for Women Foundation
    $50,000 towards Malabar Midwives, a culturally appropriate service contributing to maternal health outcomes for Indigenous women in Malabar, Maroubra and La Perouse.
  • Twin Rivers Centre
    $42,718 towards the Hand Up program in Eagleby, supporting a community experiencing intergenerational poverty by creating employment opportunities.
  • Burraga Foundation
    $50,000 towards the Storylines School Based Trainee program, an opportunity for Indigenous students to gain valuable work skills and experience through paid employment.
  • Arts North West
    $25,000 towards the North West Film Festival, engaging young people in rural communities in creative digital and analogue screen media.
  • Chester Hill Anglican Church
    $31,644 towards supporting the Children's Ministry in a rapidly growing community.
  • Sports Chaplaincy Australia
    $49,483 towards the Sports Chaplaincy in junior sport netball pilot.
  • Abbeyfield Australia
    $40,452 towards the successful establishment of new independent housing for young people with disabilities in Wagga Wagga.