Breaking Cycle: Youth Co-Responder Teams Extended

  • Miles Government announces $13.55 million investment in extension of Youth Co-Responder Teams
  • Teams partner specialist Police and Youth Justice staff to support and engage with at risk youth and young people on bail.
  • More than $13.55 million in funding will support the co-responder model to continue in existing regions
  • Funding to support an extension of the program to the Sunshine Coast and South-West regions

Premier Steven Miles has announced a $13.55 million investment, under the Government’s Community Safety Plan, to extend the successful and nation-leading Youth Co-Responder Teams model.

The Youth Co-Responder initiative is a joint program between the Queensland Police Service and the Department of Youth Justice, where specialist staff connect with young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system or are at risk of doing so.

The teams work towards best outcomes for at-risk youth. This includes proactively de-escalating and problem solving where groups congregate, transporting young people to safety, connecting young people with families and support services, and exploring diversionary pathways.

Today, the state has announced a $13.55 million commitment to extend the current teams, and add two more.

The teams currently operate in 13 regions, including the Gold Coast, Logan, Toowoomba, South Brisbane, Townsville, Mt Isa, Ipswich, Mackay and Cairns.

The major investment will also see the teams expanded to the Sunshine Coast and in the South West.

The Youth Co-Responder initiative originally commenced at five locations before expanding around the state.

To date (31 March 2024), Youth Co-Responders have had nearly 90,000 engagements with at risk young-people.

Quotes attributable to Premier Steven Miles:

“Prevention and intervention are critical in getting vulnerable young Queenslanders back on track.

“It’s the dedication from our hardworking co-responders that have helped to break the cycle of offending for many, and we think that should continue.

“My government is backing our Youth Co-Responders in the Queensland Community Safety Plan and putting more on the streets of Queensland.

“With nearly 90,000 engagements, it is clear our co-responders are at the coalface doing incredible work to connect young people with education, healthcare and employment opportunities.

“This investment is about backing the evidence – evidence that shows young people come to know, respect and trust their local co-responders, working together on a better future.”

Quotes Attributable to Deputy Premier and Treasurer Cameron Dick:

“Improving community safety is not about glib slogans and empty promises, it’s about delivering programs that work.

“That’s exactly what our Youth Co-Responder initiative does, by enabling young people to turn their lives around.”

Quotes attributable to Police Minister Mark Ryan:

“Youth Co-Responder Teams are making a real difference.

“I have spoken to members of these teams all over the state, and the common theme contained in what they say to me is that so many of the young people they have contact with are prepared to engage and take a new path towards a better life.

“This is about early intervention to turn young people’s lives around before they become embedded in a cycle of offending.

“I commend the government for making these important investments in programs that are proven to work.”

Quotes attributable to Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer:

“We are committed to keeping Queenslanders safe, which means investing in proven, successful programs that tackle the root causes of crime.

“Most young people who are at-risk or in contact with the justice system don’t have the support systems at home to help them stay on the right path.

“The best outcome is to prevent any crime before it happens, which is exactly what our Youth Co-Responder Teams do.”

Quotes attributable to Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski:

“Expanding the Youth Co-Responder Teams will allow us to build on our successes in working hand in hand with Youth Justice professionals and changing the lives of many young people.

“We know that early intervention is crucial in stopping at-risk young people from becoming serious repeat offenders that put our community at risk.

“By engaging and diverting them early, we can protect the community and give these young people the best chance to contribute to society.”

Case studies:

*Case studies are anonymous to protect the identity of young people.

In Logan, the Youth Co-Responder team has worked with a young person who is subject to a youth justice order and is case managed by the Department of Youth Justice. Co-Responders have supported the person to reengage with education after a significant period of disengagement by providing transport and encouragement. The person has expressed that without the Co-Responders they would never have returned to school and that the experience has dramatically changed their life for the best.

On the Gold Coast, Youth Co-Responders worked closely with the family of a young person who was involved in motor vehicle and property theft. They connected the young person with the Bail Support Service and an Intensive Family Partnership program run by Anglicare, which has seen the person return to regular schooling and comply with bail conditions.

In Ipswich, Youth Co-Responders coordinated for a young person to attend ‘Boxing After Dark’ at the local PCYC in the 72-hours after the person was released from youth detention. The support and connectivity felt by the young person from the Co-Responders has seen them continue to engage positively, without reoffending since their release.

In Cairns, Youth Co-Responders were contacted by a concerned mother who stated her child had not returned home. Through known associates the team were able to locate the young person, provide immediate support and build a strong rapport with both the young person and their family. This allowed the Co-Responders to check in regularly with the young person and negotiate their safe transport home to their mother, avoiding the risk of offending behaviour.

In Cairns, Youth Co-Responders referred a young person to the Fresh Start Academy, after becoming aware of recent police contact over minor offences. The team facilitated a meet and greet with the Academy’s owner. The young person now attends the Academy each week and is reported to be engaging positively with staff. The Department of Youth Justice has received impressive reports of the young persons behaviour, attendance and positive attitude to work.

In Townsville, Youth Co-Responders have engaged with a young person ahead of their release from the Cleveland Youth Detention Facility. The young person expressed an interest in participating in NAIDOC preparations and an openness to attend the Street University to learn more about cultural dance. Co-Responders have also connected the young person with the Transition to Success Program, which they will begin when released.

/Public Release. View in full here.