Sun. May 19th, 2024

A new program will soon be launched to compliment Centacare New England North West’s highly successful Youth on Track program will see young people at risk get the support they need before they commit a crime.

The Keep on Track initiative will see four new caseworkers employed and based in Armidale, Tamworth, Moree and Narrabri, who will work to stop kids at risk from committing crime. It will work as an early intervention program so Centacare can help vulnerable young people before they get off track. The support provided will be similar to the Youth on Track program, which is a very structured program to support kids who have already committed crimes.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the NSW Government would be funding the program with a $1,328,530 grant from the ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ Regional Youth Investment Program after the 84% of offenders who participated in Youth on Track either stabilised or reduced their contact with police. 

“Centacare New England North West have been delivering the Youth on Track program since 2016 and the it has proven to change the lives of many young people in our communities,” Mr Anderson said.

“Early intervention is key when it comes to reducing young offenders contact with the criminal justice system and we need to work together to do everything we can to keep them away from crime.”

Minister for Regional Youth Ben Franklin said nearly 2,000 young people were consulted to help determine the priorities for investment for the ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ Regional Youth Investment Program.

“This is an investment that has been shaped for youth, by youth and is based on findings from Regional Youth Insights – the largest regional youth research project ever commissioned by the NSW Government,” Mr Franklin said.

“We are committed to creating opportunities to support young people to live, work and achieve in regional NSW whether that’s through developing career pathways, improved health and wellbeing services, extracurricular activities or a newfound connection to culture and community.”

Centacare Interim CEO David Holzigal said the Keep on Track program would help Centacare NENW manage ongoing demand for Youth on Track and other youth programs.

“Keep on Track will provide extra support for at-risk youth and their families through a holistic case management approach, and we hope this will result in better outcomes for out young people and further curb their contact with the justice system.”

It is anticipated up to 80 young people aged between 14 and 24 will be supported by the new program.

Image: Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson invited Minister Franklin to Tamworth to make the announcement with Centacare NENW Interim CEO, David Holzigal, and Centacare Executive of Families, Wellbeing and Justice, Fallon Roberts (supplied)

Have something to say about this story? Submit your own opinion piece, or quick word, to The Net.