Putting kids’ rights first even if they’ve been in contact with the law
It’s the kind of work where each day is not the same. As teacher for Out Teach, a service for young people in contact with the youth justice system, Rob’s work is led by the individual needs of its participants.
Rob says, “There's absolutely no typical day in Out Teach. We try and see three young people for about an hour and a half each, but quite often they've got different needs and different wants. So we have to be really dynamic in how we go about working with them and change up as they need it.”
The support could be as varied as taking them to a dental appointment, school or to the local café to check in on their physical and mental health. It also includes linking them to education, vocational training and employment.
Helping meet kids’ needs
“Young people come to us with quite complex needs. So a typical young person who comes into the program is someone who has recently offended, is between the ages of 12 and 18 and someone who is long term disengaged with education or employment,” Rob explains.
Teacher Rob helps Leo get a few essential personal items.
“We look at what their needs are and what they believe their vulnerabilities are, and then we start to develop an individually tailored program in order to address those needs and vulnerabilities.”
For 17-year-old Leo,* it’s about going to school and help with getting work. With his partner due to give birth soon, it’s also about preparing for his new role as a father.
Youth Worker Cass works in tandem with Rob and has been helping Leo get into an apprenticeship. Cass shares, “He’s really wanting to better his life and we’re just supporting him in that and he’ll ring up and make his own appointments and he will do everything … It’s just getting him a little bit of extra support, but the credit needs to go to the young people because they are amazing. They’ve overcome so much.”
Youth worker Cass talks to young people about their mental and physical health.
Helping kids become their best self
Underpinning the work of Out Teach is the belief that kids who are in trouble with the law have the same rights as anyone else.