Law breakers turn lives around

HELPING HAND: Karen Dawson-Sinclair and Pamela Fisher from the Ganyjuu Family Support Service at Woodridge.
HELPING HAND: Karen Dawson-Sinclair and Pamela Fisher from the Ganyjuu Family Support Service at Woodridge.

TROUBLED youths who are frequently caught breaking the law are now being given the opportunity to turn their lives around with the help of a new youth-based project.

The Youth Offender Blitz Program, also known as P200, is aimed at helping 200 Queenslanders 10 and 17 get off the streets and back in to a school or work environment.

In Logan, there are 39 youths in the program, which also include children from Redland Bay.

Community Services Minister Karen Struthers said the program, which was launched in November last year, is about teaching youths to take responsibility for their actions and to show them they can have a better life.

"What they are a part of here is a learning or earning program, so they are to be back at school or Tafe or in some sort of job skill program as a way of turning their lives around," she said.

"Were not mucking around here.

"These are serial offenders who are causing a lot of harm to themselves and others and if they don't want to meet their responsibilities under the youth offender blitz they will end up back in court and possibly in detention."

A spokesperson for the Department of Communities said once the kids were part of the program, they attended meetings with their case workers from the Youth Justice Centre.

"Once a young person becomes a participant to the youth offender blitz, they continue these meetings, as well as having regular contact with local support services," he said.

"Depending on the particular young person's circumstances, they may attend regular drug and alcohol counselling; mental health counselling; work with an employment officer to develop a resume, interview skills and support through job interview processes.

"Some young people involved in the Logan program are already attending courses to teach them how to avoid aggressive or violent behaviour or a program to change anti-social behaviour and help them reach their goals."

In less than three months, Ms Struthers said she has already seen improvements in the kids' behaviour.

She said only two had re-offended.



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