Government backs families over detention centres in budget funding

Vulnerable families will be the winners after the Andrews Government renewed funding in the Victorian Budget for a program that stops troubled teens from re-offending and keeps them at home with their loved ones, Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said today.

Mr McDonald said the Australian-first therapy program took a unique approach, reinforcing family connections to reduce re-offending by those in the youth justice system.

“Functional Family Therapy – Youth Justice (FFT-YJ) has a long history of being used effectively overseas and has successfully been adapted for use in Victoria after initial funding from the Andrews Government four years ago,” Mr McDonald said.

“It’s great to see continued funding in the state budget for a program which can reduce reoffending by up to 65 per cent, as well as reducing offending among young siblings.

“Much of the youth justice system focuses on the young offender in isolation, and many of these young people are struggling for connection with their family members. One of this program’s strengths is that it rebuilds relationships and connection within the family. Put simply, it works,” Mr McDonald said.

FFT-YJ has been delivered on a trial basis by Anglicare Victoria in Melbourne. The program’s funding means it can be delivered on an ongoing basis for another four years.

Mr McDonald said there was a clear case for scaling up the FFT-YJ program to reduce the number of young people on remand or in youth prisons.

“Against the high cost of youth justice, investing more in this program can deliver big savings to the government’s budget and start to make a real dent in youth crime figures. It’s a win-win for families, the government and the community if we can keep more young people out of the justice system.”

Please contact Anglicare Victoria’s media team for more information or to organise an interview.

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