Youth control orders - advice

This advice provides information on youth control orders, suitability assessment and planning meetings.

Document ID number 2416, version 1, 4 June 2018.

Introduction

See procedures Assessment of suitability for a youth control order and Youth control order planning meeting for tasks that must be undertaken.

A youth control order is the highest tariff community based order that can be made in the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court (Court) when there has been a finding of guilt. A Youth control order operates as an alternative to detention by imposing intense requirements for supervision, support and Court monitoring of children aged 10 – 17 years, for up to 12 months.

A youth control order can only be made where the offence is punishable by imprisonment and the child is considered suitable for and agrees to such an order. The purpose of a youth control order is to help a child develop an ability to abide by the law, engage them in education, training or work and impose restrictions on liberty.

Youth control order

A youth control order contains mandatory conditions, including participation in education, training or work. The Court has discretion to impose other conditions, such as participation in activities, treatment or counselling, or make restrictions such as directing the child where to reside, curfews, or making limitations on their contact with people or the use of social media. The Court can also impose requirements around participation in culturally specific programs or activities.

Assessment of suitability

Where the Court is considering a youth control order they will ask the Secretary of the Department of Justice and Regulation to assess the child’s suitability.

Youth justice will undertake an assessment of a child’s suitability and will advise the Court of their recommendation.

To assist with the assessment, youth justice will seek information from child protection. This information will initially be provided through the central contact position located in DHHS central office. This position will advise youth justice of information regarding child protection history or current involvement, including the name of the allocated or most recent allocated practitioner if the case is open or has been closed in the past month. The case manager may be required to participate in the planning meeting if directed by Court.

If the Court agrees with the recommendation of a child’s suitability for a youth control order, the Court will adjourn the matter for six weeks to allow for the planning meeting to be held.

Youth control order planning meeting

A youth control order can only be made following a planning meeting which will usually be held within six weeks of the Court requesting the assessment. The youth control order plan will be developed in this meeting.

The planning meeting is chaired by a Court Convenor and attended by relevant people as determined by the Court. The Court can require professionals or individuals to attend the planning meeting.

The plan is designed to help the child take responsibility for their offending, reduce their likelihood of reoffending and enable them access to interventions that will assist them to abide by the law.

The plan identifies and sequences appropriate interventions to address the child’s assessed needs. Where a child protection case plan has been developed, it will inform or be included as part of the youth control order plan. A cultural plan or crisis response plan may also be included. Youth justice is responsible for writing up the youth control order plan, which must be agreed to by the child.

After the planning meeting the Court Convenor prepares a report for the Court including a copy of the plan.

The matter will be reconvened and the Court may issue the youth control order with mandatory conditions.

Judicial monitoring

Judicial monitoring of the youth control order will occur monthly at Court, for the first half of the order. Where possible, the monitoring will be by the magistrate who made the order and the child must attend the court for each review.

The youth justice worker will prepare a report for the Court before each monthly monitoring meeting. Where the case is open, child protection will be required to contribute to this report in a timely manner. During the monthly monitoring the Court can vary the order, making conditions more or less restrictive. The allocated worker may be required to attend Court.

The youth control order can be revoked where there is a significant breach of compliance such that the order is no longer suitable or if the child commits an offence punishable by at least five years imprisonment. When a youth control order is revoked, the Court must sentence the child to detention unless exceptional circumstances exist. Detention must not exceed the remaining period of the order.

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