YOUTH ATTENTION: Bridges CEO Sharon Sarah. Photo: Mike Knott
YOUTH ATTENTION: Bridges CEO Sharon Sarah. Photo: Mike Knott Mike Knott BUN270913SHA2

Program to help youth caught in life of crime on the way

HELPING young people avoid the juvenile justice system is well on its way to becoming a reality as a Bundaberg health care provider Bridges begins its recruitment process for the Youth Bail Support program.

The facility is in the establishment phase and aims to be up and running by April to offer alternative education and occupational training to assist young people involved in the youth and criminal justice system.

The program offered by Bridges is set to deliver timely, effective, culturally and age-appropriate interventions and intensive case management of young people.

In August the Palaszczuk Government announced a further $280,000 in additional funding to help Bundaberg youth.

Bridges CEO Sharon Sarah said the bail support service was a new program aimed to assist young people apply for bail and prevent re-offending.

"The program is for young people aged 10 to 17 who have or alleged to have committed an offence under law," Ms Sarah said.

"Staff will provide intensive support to reduce re-offending and avoid young people going into prison or on remand."

In July the NewsMail reported 12 per cent of criminal charges in Bundaberg were against children, with almost 300 juniors facing court in 2017.

Participants of the Bridges program will on the most part be referred to the facility by the youth justice department, legal aid, the courts or police.

Young people and their families can also ask for support directly.

Common acts committed by juvenile offenders include petty crime, drug use and property offences.

"We are currently recruiting and looking forward to work in with key stakeholders so that we can avoid custodial sentences and help young people get back on the right path and a pro-social life," Ms Sarah said.

Tahlia Stehbens