The state budget, handed down today by the Queensland Government, sees another $5 million dollars of funding cut from front-line youth services.
The Director of the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland has warned that this broken promise will have negative impacts on the whole community.
Today's budget papers confirm that on top of efficiency cuts to youth services over the previous year, the Department of Communities has cut millions of dollars of funding to the Youth Support Co-ordinators Program, a program focused on supporting young people who are at risk of or have disengaged from learning to successfully transition into and through their Senior Phase of Learning.
Youth Affairs Network of Queensland's (YANQ) Director, Siyavash Doostkhah, has today strongly criticised the LNP Government for their broken election promise.
“These are front-line services we are talking about. The research and evidence on hand clearly demonstrate the link between disengaging from schools and ending up in the criminal justice system,” said Mr Doostkhah.
“The budget has failed young Queenslanders and the whole community will ultimately pay the price. Putting young people straight in detention does not make the community safer. It only teaches young people to become hardened criminals.”
“The Queensland Government spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on each young person locked in Youth Detention Centres. This money would be much better spent in the communities where these young people come from, giving them alternative options and ensuring they stay in schools and away from the criminal justice system.”
“Unlike other states where they are closing their Youth Detention Centres, we fear that Queensland will have to build another centre to cope with the fallout of cutting funding to preventative services.”
The youth sector in Queensland has been the hardest hit by the LNP funding cuts and reviews. Youth workers play a critical role in the lives of disengaged young people. They build trusting relationships with young people and help young people re-engage with community and become a contributing member of society.
Director - Youth Affairs Network Qld
07 3844 7713 | firstname.lastname@example.org
YANQ Director Siyavash Doostkhah was on Triple J's Hack program this evening as part of a special feature on Qld continuing to lock young people up in adult prisons. You can listen to the podcast here - http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/daily/hack_thu_2012_11_22.mp3
AN investigation has revealed the use of excessive force by staff at Queensland's youth detention centres.
Restraint techniques used to control young people are being reviewed by the Justice Department after a report by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian highlighted "systemic issues" at the state's two centres in Brisbane and Townsville.
The report examines the cases of six young detainees who suffered serious injuries between September 2009 and November 2010, including a dislocated shoulder and fractured upper arm; four fractured wrists; and a fractured forearm.
One of the youngsters, who suffered a broken right wrist after being put in transport wrist locks by two workers, was just 148cm (4ft 10in) tall and weighed only 28kg.
The technique involves immobilising a young person's forearm and then bending their hand inwards, causing medium to high levels of pain.
Youth Affairs Network of Queensland executive director Siyavash Doostkhah said the report was "disturbing", especially with the State Government prepared to open Queensland's first two boot camps.
Mr Doostkhah welcomed the recommendations but said "an urgent independent inquiry" was needed, which should investigate excessive use of solitary confinement.
A Department of Justice spokesman said the recommendations were being addressed.