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A chance to Reboot

24 October 2023, Impact of Our Work

The true meaning of youth justice  

“I didn't go to school. I dropped out and had a pretty bad experience with school from kindergarten onwards … I was into crime and got locked up,”  says Alex,* whose experience with the youth justice system led her to ‘Reboot’. 

Reboot is a program run by 54 reasons which helps young people to reintegrate with the community after an experience with juvenile detention. The program provides support through their bail order to help reduce risky behaviour and engage with positive education and employment opportunities. 

“The great thing about this particular program is there is flexibility and scope to listen to what it is that the young person needs support with,”  explains Tamieka, whose been a Youth Specialist and mentor in the program for three years.

“A typical day in this work can be anything … from kicking the footy with them, helping them learn how to cook, setting up a bank account, going to the doctor. It just really depends on what it is they need support with,”  says Tamieka. 

Beyond these practical forms of support, Youth Specialists like Tamieka also help young people in the program to develop psycho-social skills. This can include processing and making sense of their experiences, developing positive goals for the future and building relationships with an ongoing support network. 

The Reboot program is driven by listening to the needs of the young person and
designing it around their personal circumstances. 

The right to have their voice heard

This flexibility is based on a child rights approach that ensures children have a voice in the decisions that impact them. By giving agency to young people, the program is tailored in a way that suits their unique needs and circumstances. 

“Child rights … underpins everything we do”  Tamieka tells us. 

For Alex, this approach has enabled her to build a strong relationship founded on trust with the worker that supports her, and to develop positive skills and experiences. 

I clicked with my worker. It took about three weeks, but we started to get to know each other and then, yeah, I don't know what I'd do pretty much if I didn't have my worker.


“I've learned being involved with the program … just to give everything a go and try [your] hardest, even if you fail, it doesn't matter, there's always another try.” 

A connection to community 

Jaime, whose been a Youth Specialist with Reboot for almost a year, sees how these relationships and experiences are crucial for enabling young people who have been involved in the justice system to re-integrate into the community.

“At the end … we see a young person who's connected with their community,”  says Jaime. 

“The most fulfilling thing for me (as a youth worker) is seeing young people succeed … they look back at it and say, I did that and, you know, my life is better because of it.” 

The impact of the program starts with the young person, but ripples out to the wider community.

When Tamieka considers the impact of the program on a larger scale, she sees immense opportunities for young people and for the community. 

“Decreas[ing] criminal activity, that's the biggest thing … engaging with school … setting up that transition into independence,”  says Tamieka. 

Support to find their own path

For Alex, these goals have become true milestones in her progress with the program. 

“My worker has helped me get back into [school] now, so I'm going three days a week and enjoying that now,”  says Alex. “I think that I've changed as a person, in the way that I'm not into the crime anymore. I'm learning to just be a better person. Like go to school, get a job, complete year 12.”

“I definitely think the program's beneficial for young kids. It helps lead them down the right path instead of going back towards the wrong path. So I reckon if I didn't have my worker, I'd probably still be in [a detention centre] right now. So I feel like it's a good thing that I've gotten outta that path and just like, yeah, gone down the right path.” 

*Name has been changed to protect their identity.

Photos: Ashton and Peek/Save the Children.

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