‘Young people connected. Communities protected.’ Development of a state plan in South Australia to provide vulnerable young people and their families with connected supports, programs and services.

Ms Sarah Strathearn1

1South Australia Department Of Human Services, , Australia

South Australia’s Department of Human Services Youth Justice Division is currently leading the co-design of a state wide  strategy to provide vulnerable young people with connected supports, programs and services in the youth justice system, with a particular focus on addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in the justice system.

Creating a connected and accountable state-wide approach will promote a co- ordinated response to young people that are at risk of and involved in the Youth Justice System through the range of revitalised and innovative evidence based services to support early intervention, diversion, young people’s wellbeing, reconnection with community and with a strong focus on Aboriginal community support.


Sarah’s change management approach comes from extensive experience in both the public and private sector where she sees stakeholder consultation and engagement as critical factors for success.  She has experience across a range of areas including Youth Justice, R&D, Education, Health, Employment & Workplace Relations, Social Services, and Environmental Resource Management. She has been involved in the innovative, research based development of policy, guidelines and operational practices that have set benchmarks for best practice in these areas.

Sarah has most recently driven the alignment of legislation, policy and operational practice in Youth Justice Reform through the Behaviour Support Framework at the Adelaide Youth Training Centre and is a current project lead for South Australia’s ‘Connected Youth Justice’ strategy development that is designing the provision of connected supports, programs and services to vulnerable young people.

Australasian Youth Justice Conference

The Australasian Youth Justice Administrators (AYJA) hosts a bi-annual Australasian Youth Justice Conference (AYJC) for academics, practitioners, and government and non-government agencies to drive and showcase youth justice initiatives and innovations nationally and internationally.  Learnings from these conferences contribute to evidence-based responses for youth justice and provide new ideas for youth justice at both a jurisdictional, national and international level.  EMAIL: secretariat@ayja.org.au

AYJA is working in collaboration with Juvenile Justice New South Wales (JJ NSW) and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to deliver the third AYJC in 2019.

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