Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women

Youth justice reform

Since 2015, Youth Justice has been undergoing a series of changes designed to better support children involved in the youth justice system.

The wide-sweeping changes being implemented by Youth Justice include:

  • reforms to Queensland detention centres
  • new legislation to transfer eligible 17 year-olds from the adult justice system to the youth justice system
  • the establishment of supervised community accommodation services across Queensland
  • recruitment of new frontline staff for courts, community and youth detention centres
  • more resources for children’s courts, including a new magistrate, to ensure timely processes
  • after-hours legal services for young people and increased funding for Legal Aid Queensland
  • multisystemic therapy (MST)
  • wrap around homelessness services
  • Townsville Community Action Plan.

Detention centre reforms

In 2016, an independent review of Queensland’s youth justice system recommended a series of changes to improve practices and services that are central to the safety, wellbeing and rehabilitation of children in youth detention centres. The government accepted all 83 of the recommendations (PDF) and identified further opportunities to create positive change in the youth justice system.

These changes focus on improving:

  • cultural services and supports
  • programs, education and training
  • mental health and therapeutic services
  • behaviour management and incident prevention
  • monitoring and oversight.

Prior to the release of the independent review report, Youth Justice had already undertaken considerable work to improve outcomes for children in detention. This includes:

  • introducing the Transition to Success program (T2S) across the state – resulting in over 70% of participating young people no longer offending
  • implementing trauma-informed practices and training of staff
  • establishing the First Nations Action Board
  • introducing the Stronger Communities initiative
  • implementing restorative justice practices
  • introducing programs and strategies to more effectively transition young people from detention to the community
  • establishing the Childrens Court Committee
  • introducing new programs in detention centres
  • upgrading security
  • improving flexible education models
  • making significant improvements to practices
  • intensive case management.