Fighting youth crime, not just in office hours


2507 Tjupi -Tjala Team 2 OK
As the second summer of juvenile offending is unfolding on her watch, Families Minister Dale Wakefield is disclosing that a trial program, started in November “to get children on the right path, to stop them ending up on the streets and into a cycle of crime”, won’t be evaluated until March.
“The aim of the pilot program is to assess the benefits of extended child protection capabilities outside standard office hours,” said Ms Wakefield in a media release yesterday.
“The program will also look at the reasons why young children are on the streets, and work with their families to address potential safety concerns at home.”
Ms Wakefield makes no reference to any involuntary removal of troubled and troublesome kids from the streets, and has not responded to requests from the Alice Springs News Online for comparative December crime figures.
“We will conduct a comprehensive internal evaluation at the end of the pilot period before we commit to any future spend or rollout across the Northern Territory” of Operation Tjupi-Tjala, as the initiative is called.
Its team is made up of existing Territory Families child protection staff (pictured). Key operational responsibilities are seeking to provide a “more agile response to child protection concerns,” according to the media release:-
• Working with the police to identify and engage with young people in need of support or who may be causing anti-social issues in Alice Springs.
• Working with the high-risk young people and their families to identify why their behaviour may be occurring and what alternative services or responses would be best suited to support them in the long-term.
• Supporting court work, child protection orders, and the fast-tracking of case closures.
• Completing Foster and Kinship Carer assessments and processing interstate transfer orders for children in care when required.
The media release says Operation Tjupi-Tjala is named after one of the main Aboriginal Dreamings in Central Australia, the Honey Ant dreaming: “Tjupi and Tjala are the Luritja and Pitjantjatjara words for Honey Ant respectively. The name was chosen to reflect its meaning of creative development, adaption and transformation.”


  1. Well intentioned and should be supported. However my question remains.
    For children in care (Anglicare) houses why is it that they walk around all night (Caltex, Hungry Jacks, etc) and then go back to care houses to sleep throughout the day?
    This “Daybreaking” seems to be linked to the fact that many are not going to school. And, the families are not aware it is happening.

  2. More fluff and wasting money. Here is the answer: Get these kids responsible home supervision, safe home environments, make them go to school (to get them to learn about their cultural ways and modern society way).
    As they get older assist in getting them into the workplace, with the focus on assisting people of troubled / disadvantaged past.
    Let stop aiming at a complete race (especially those who are well off and don’t need the help but still rort the system) and start aiming at the people who need the help within that race.

  3. Kids are out of control ruining the town, same in Mt Isa.
    Current programmes cost plenty and don’t work. Why pay Elders for not caring?

  4. Providing pretty shirts with Aboriginal designs and putting your most obedient and oppressed staff in the paper, will not cover the disease that is at the core of this poisonous tree that is the Alice Springs Child Protection Office.
    The money that could have be used to enable the NT Government to make Families in the NT comply with the basic human rights of children has been wasted on the numerous incoming and outgoing staff who have been trained then left within twelve months to 18 months.
    The numbers would shock the most hardened government bean counters.
    Many Ministers have come and gone, ex high ranking NT police moved into this space like chess pieces on a board and yet not one has managed to take a big broom and sort this stinking carcass of an organisation out yet.
    The Royal Commission exposed many people within this ship who had their snouts in the high salary trough but with no actual real idea of how to effect comtemporary change in the Territory for the good of its children and community.
    The Territory is continually sold the lie that there are no qualified people to employ and recruitment must resort to looking overseas to make up numbers.
    This poison cup of a department has such a bad reputation for treating its staff like dirt and causing long term trauma that anyone local laughs at the thought of applying.
    The people who have created this situation of money flowing out the doors on staff problems are still there but are excused year after year.
    No one wants to really pry the lid on this can of venoumous worms.
    The people who require the quality service like the children miss out on the funds and we continue to have our eyes and minds assaulted by political window dressing in our local news.
    Nice shirts and posed busy happy staff does not disguise the flea riddled, mangy dog of an organisation that many see as one of the biggest national embarrassments of Australia.
    Suffer the little children as Jesus said because the humans in the NT Parliament continue to look away while families self destruct in the hundreds.

  5. Julia Gillard’s Royal Commission into sexual abuse of innocent children had a golden opportunity to shine a light into this tunnel of darkness.
    However, for political reasons that can only be guessed at, the commission’s terms of reference went after specific religious institutions, and glaringly shied away from lifting the scab from – or even touching – the NT and State secular institutions of government shame.
    It will simply never happen because politicians and the bureaucracy are joined at the hip.
    I would challenge any of the major parties, including the Greens, to stand up in Todd Street and Mitchell Street on their moral soap boxes and debate this among the people without parliamentary privilege to hide behind.
    They simply would not have the guts.

  6. Mrs Whis L Blowers revelations seem to confirm what a lot of people suspect. Surely it’s time for a thorough independent review process. We might find out who is taking the big money and what the return is for the tax payer.

  7. Good to see the department is looking at what’s going on for the young people who frequent town at night. This understanding with build policy responses that are locally driven and evidence based.
    Let’s get behind the people working towards real solutions. The job is difficult enough we should support those people working on the front line brave enough to take on the challenging work of child protection.


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