The crucial reform needed to reduce youth crime in Queensland
Thursday February 2021
With such a high rate of crossover between young Queenslanders in the justice system and those from a child protection background, a simple but proven reform to reduce youth crime and arrests has gone begging in the government’s plan this week, the head of the national Home Stretch campaign said today.
Paul McDonald, Chair of The Home Stretch – a coalition of more than 160 organisations calling for urgent change to state care across the country – said international evidence shows extending state care reduces crime and arrests by 40 per cent from this group for each year beyond 18.
Extending the option for those in state care to remain supported until the age of 21 would have a bigger effect on cutting youth crime than any of the recent measures introduced by the state government, Mr McDonald said.
“With half of Queensland’s young offenders also being clients of the care system, it is essential that any response to youth crime addresses how we care for these young people. Extending care to 21 years is an obvious strategy which directly addresses the higher offending by this group and ensures they have a better start in life,” Mr McDonald said.
Deloitte Access Economics in a recent study found that extending state care for young Queenslanders would reduce offences in this group by more than a third.
“Currently the Queensland Government only provides formal care up to the age of 18 (with some provision of care to 19 years). Other states and territories have now extended out of home care to 21 years of age,” Mr McDonald said.
“It’s time that Queensland follow other states such as Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia who have had their own issues with youth crime but have recognised the value of extending care to 21 years to this group. This simple reform not only reduces arrests, but halves homeless rates and trebles education rates for these care leavers.
“With more than three quarters of young offenders known to child safety authorities and about half of them coming through the child protection system, it’s a no brainer to introduce extended care in Queensland as part of the youth crime strategy,” McDonald said.
For further enquiries contact Mark Bretherton on 0439 806 072 or firstname.lastname@example.org