By ERWIN CHLANDA
Families Minister Dale Wakefield is introducing her staff to Strength Based Practice and is requiring all her department’s providers – including NGOs – to ensure their staff are trained in it as well.
She says there has been focus on “trauma informed” practices for some time: “There will be some further work announcing how we will be incorporating all of that in our practices in the next couple of months.
“We have trauma informed practice training that is being improved.”
About use of these practices by NGOs and other providers Ms Wakefield says: “That is one of the things that have been lacking in the past. There hasn’t been enough work to ensure we have a shared practice framework.
“In the past there has been a competitive tender process that has looked at how you deliver services that has been around price. We understand as a government that we need a much better joined up framework with our NGO partners.”
Asked if police were using these methods as well Ms Wakefield said: “We’ve accepted all the recommendations from the Royal Commission [into detention of juveniles, tabled on November 17 last year].
“One of the recommendations was that we need police to be engaging with our youth in a different way.”
But she says over the summer period “every single NGO” commented, after working with police, “on how much more effective it was working with police. They gave police very strong positive feedback about that approach”.
The Alice Springs News Online is seeking comment from the police on these issues, and its implementation plan for the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
The juvenile detention facility adjacent to the adult prison is currently being refurbished at a cost of $1.4m, as an interim facility.
It has room for 20 boys and four girls, and is frequently full:-
On April 1 two young people were flown from Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre to Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and returned to Alice Springs on April 12.
On March 25 two were flown to Don Dale and retuned on April 4.
On March 27 a further two were flown to Don Dale on the morning flight and two more on the afternoon flight. They were returned to Alice Springs on April 5.
The NT Government “has committed $70m to replace both youth detention centres, with fit for purpose facilities that meet the needs of young people and the community. Planning is already underway to achieve this” according to a Territory Families spokeswoman.
Asked about the future use for the old Alice facility once the planned new one is completed, Ms Wakefield said: “We’ll look at it then. Many of the buildings are demountables, designed not to be a permanent structure, but it is a huge improvement on what was there before.”
Will the new facility be at the Desert Knowledge precinct?
Ms Wakefield says this is still under discussion. The location will be part of the consideration to create “something really innovative and positive rather than a pathway between the youth detention facility and the adult prison. We want that pathway to lead into training. We think there are some great opportunities for doing that”.
PHOTO: Volunteers provide a BBQ for kids at night last year in the Mall.
By ERWIN CHLANDA