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Funding to break cycle of disadvantage for young people welcome

14 May 2020

Save the Children Australia welcomes support from the Paul Ramsay Foundation for our critical work with at risk young people in Western Australia. 

As part of a strategy to help break cycles of disadvantage in Australia, unveiled today, the Foundation will invest $1.5 million in an early intervention program led by Save the Children in partnership with the Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI).

The Youth Early Intervention Model has been designed to prevent at-risk children from entering the criminal justice system.

Executive Director of Save the Children’s Australian Services, Matt Gardiner thanked the Paul Ramsay Foundation for its investment in this vital work. 

“From our work we know that intervening early to prevent offending in the first place can have significant impacts on a young person’s life,” said Mr Gardiner. 

“When these vulnerable young people come into contact with the justice system, they become trapped in a cycle of disadvantage from which many never escape.”

“The evidence shows, not surprisingly, that children who engage with the justice system are less likely to complete their education or find employment.”

In Australia, around 80 per cent of youth offenders (aged 10-16) released from sentenced detention return to supervision within 12 months. 

On any given day, around 5,500 children (aged 10-17) are under youth justice supervision in Australia. Nearly 1,000 of these children are in detention. 

“We know that early contact with the criminal justice system leads to further, and often escalating, criminal behaviour,” said Mr Gardiner.

“Tragically, the younger a child is at their first sentence, the more likely they are to reoffend, including as an adult.”

“We know from the evidence that a young person’s ability to exercise self-control is one of the most significant predictors of their offending behaviour and life-long outcomes like healthy relationships and employment.”

Since 2014 Save the Children has been the ‘backbone’ organisation leading the award-winning Youth Partnership Project collective impact initiative in the south east corridor of Perth, Western Australia. 

YPP partners, including WA Police and the Departments of Education and Communities, together with local governments and other not-for-profits, together developed an early intervention framework. By identifying young people with complex needs early, community partners can provide collaborative, intensive support to prevent at-risk children from entering the criminal justice system.

This early intervention model was piloted in the Armadale area from 2017 to 2019. Following its success, the model has been expanded to the broader district with support from the Paul Ramsay Foundation. In 2018-19, this area was home for nearly 1 in 7 of the young people who entered Banksia Hill Youth Detention Centre.


For media inquiries contact Kimberley Gardiner on 0437 435 777

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