Our role in the youth justice system

The Department of Youth Justice was established in December 2023.

The Queensland Government is focused on keeping our communities safe by addressing the drivers of youth crime and better supporting young people on the transition to adulthood so they can avoid becoming entrenched in the criminal justice system. We also provide young people with alternative pathways that create better lives, brighter futures and give our children a great start.

We expect children and young people to be law abiding and respectful. If they are not, we expect them to be accountable and put things right. The Queensland Government recognises that a small proportion of youth offenders commit a disproportionately large number of offences, and have an unacceptable impact on community safety. To tackle this, the Queensland Government has strengthened accountability for serious repeat youth offenders by amending the Youth Justice Act 1992 to introduce a limited presumption against bail for children charged with particular offences. This is one of several changes to the Act designed to keep the community safe.

Our programs and services aim to:

  • keep communities safe
  • support victims of crime
  • tackle the complex causes of youth crime
  • target serious repeat offenders.

These services are evidence based and appropriately targeted.

Program evaluations (PDF, 732KB) demonstrate the effectiveness of services delivered to young people.

Providing services to the youth justice system

We have primary responsibility for providing services to young people in the youth justice system and broader community. This involves advising young people at court and supervising young people sentenced by the court. As part of our role, we:

  • detain high risk young people in custody pending court outcomes. While detained, the department provides the services required to ensure the young person's needs are met
  • detain high risk young people when they've been sentenced to detention. Once in detention, we may provide services to the young person aimed at rehabilitation and improving life outcomes
  • supervised orders given by the court including probation and community service orders. This also includes providing services that help the young person to meet their requirements of their order and address the factors which have contributed to their offending.
  • hold young people to account for failing to comply with court orders by returning them to court.

Funding early intervention and prevention services

We fund non-government organisations (NGOs) to provide early intervention and prevention services to complement early childhood development, health services and educational services. Some of the services we provide under this model include:

  • family wellbeing services
  • adolescent sexual offending services
  • On Country program
  • bail support services
  • young offender support services
  • and
  • legal advocacy services.

Partnering with government agencies

We partner with other government departments to identify and engage with at-risk young people, divert them from the youth justice system, and follow up on complex bail monitoring strategies. This may involve the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Health, Department of Education, and Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy.

Some of the services we provide under this model include:

  • Queensland Youth Partnerships, which provides alternative opportunities and activities for at-risk young people with a focus on youth development, training, employment and engagement. It is specifically targeted to prevent crime and young people engaging in anti-social behaviour in busy shopping centres.
  • Navigate Your Health, which uses nurse navigators to provide health and development assessments and connect young people with relevant health and support services. By addressing and improving some of the underlying health factors that contribute to offending, the program prevents offending and reduces reoffending.
  • Framing the Future (Booyah), which provides mentoring and support to Project Booyah graduates for up to 6 months after completion. This better connects at-risk young people with further education and training, and creates alternative pathways and opportunities to empower them to change their story and live better lives.
  • Community Youth Response and Diversion, which is a diversion program that provides alternative pathways to support young people. The program's emphasis is on after-hours support, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural mentoring, bridging to flexi-school, and family-focused integrated case management for young people aged 10–15 years who are at high risk of reoffending.
  • Integrated case management, which provides specialised case managers who deliver intensive support for a small number of high-risk young offenders and their families to reduce reoffending and limit the number of young people on remand.
  • Police Blitz on bail, which involves appealing court decisions where appropriate.
  • Co-responder teams, which are a joint response between us and the Queensland Police Service. Our staff work alongside Queensland Police officers to respond to young people at risk of offending behaviour, including those who are at risk of not-complying with bail conditions. Co-responder teams work proactively with young people and their families to engage them with supports and tackle issues that may be contributing to non-compliance with bail.

Funding complementary services

We fund NGOs to provide services that complement the services provided by other government departments. Examples include focused housing and accommodation support, educational support, justice groups and camps.

Find out more

Find out about the youth justice programs, services and initiatives (PDF, 3MB) provided by us and our partners provide.

Last updated 10 July 2024

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)