Managing rehabilitation services in the youth detention system

Expected to be tabled in July 2018


Objective: Determine how well the rehabilitation services provided to children and young people in the youth detention system meet their developmental needs and whether they reduce reoffending.

Issues: Victoria has two youth detention centres at Parkville and Malmsbury. Through a contracted service provider, the Department of Justice and Regulation delivers primary health care, mental health, and other programs within these centres, and the Department of Education and Training operates a government school, Parkville College.

Children and young people in detention are some of the most disadvantaged in the state, with complex needs such as:

  • 45 per cent are subject to a past child protection order, and 19 per cent are subject to a current order
  • 63 per cent are victims of abuse, trauma and neglect—trauma experienced by children can harm brain development and impair cognitive growth, creating longstanding problems
  • 24 per cent have intellectual impairments and 30 per cent have mental health issues
  • very low educational attainment levels.

Recent instability at both centres has diminished their capacity to accommodate incarcerated children and young people. However, against this background, delivering rehabilitation services remains necessary. Successfully achieving this goal depends upon the quantity and quality of services offered, infrastructure and available resources, and management of the services at both the operational and departmental levels.

This audit will provide assurance to Parliament and the community on the effectiveness of the strategic delivery of rehabilitation services (planning, implementation and evaluation).

Proposed agencies: Department of Justice and Regulation, Department of Education and Training

Associated entities: Youth Health and Rehabilitation Service (Service provider: using follow the dollar powers)