Journal of Applied Youth Studies v.2 n.4 June 2018
by Rob White
Understanding the role of lived experience in the practice of case management
by Joel Robert McGregor
Those who work directly with young people have significant power to impact their decisions and, ultimately, shape their biographical pathway. Across literature on welfare it has been widely acknowledged that practitioners often have personal motivations for working with select groups. However, in practice, personal motivations are rarely admitted for fear of crossing the personal–professional boundary. Using analysis of qualitative data collected from a research project that examines case management practices, this article examines the personal motivations for case managers working with young people who have participated in crime, arguing: first, the case managers’ personal motivations should be at the forefront of understanding how they conceptualise their role and how this influences their day-to-day work practices; and second, a case manager’s personal history facilitates their understanding and knowledge of the clients they work with.
Key words: case management, practitioner–client relationships, codes of ethics, crime, youth justice, Foucault
Risk is a pervasive and powerful idea in many social policy contexts, including policies concerning compulsory education. Risk can be understood as a rationality that is based on a range of assumptions about problems and what should be done to intervene in them. This paper examines and problematises the adoption of the concept of risk in the move to change the compulsory school leaving age policy in Western Australia. Drawing on interview data and policy documents, the paper traces the development and effects of a risk epistemology on certain groups of young people who were assessed as not meeting the requirements of the policy. The paper argues that this risk epistemology is reductionist and conceptually confused, structuring practice responses in ways that invariably blame young people for the problem the policy was trying to solve.
Key words: risk theory, rationality, youth, education policy, problematisation
On an average day in June 2016, 914 youth were in custody around Australia; 57% were unsentenced. This is concerning given that contact with the justice system at a young age is the most influential factor that predicts offending as an adult. Many aspects of the juvenile justice system are different from the adult system, including the courts that proceedings are held in, sentencing procedures and detention facilities. Yet this is not the case for bail legislation. This paper discusses how current laws and policies concerning bail and bail conditions have the potential to increase a young person’s contact with the justice system. It reviews current research, including the recently released Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Young People in Custody, in order to recommend potential changes to the legislation and policies that surround bail and bail conditions that may reduce the contact juveniles have with the justice system and the rate of young people remanded in custody.
Key words: juvenile justice system, bail conditions, remand, Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Young People in Custody, legislative and policy reform
In an environment of social anxiety and funding targeting ‘at-risk’ youth, the lifting of disadvantaged young people’s aspirations is habitually constructed as a silver bullet to achieve educational success and, in turn, social mobility. These policy discourses facilitate an increased imposition of social policy targets and outcomes-focused youth work practices. This paper aims at gaining a deeper understanding of how these aspiration-raising policies operate within youth work settings and whether these initiatives correspond with the needs of disadvantaged young people. The findings from three qualitative case studies suggest that young people’s participation in localised communities, coupled with their alienation from, and resistance to, others – such as the school environment – powerfully mediates the types of belonging and recognition young people are able to access. This, in turn, impacts upon their aspirational horizon. The paper suggests that effective youth work practice appears to be compromised in programs affected by marketisation, underfunding, short-termism and rigid outcomes reporting. Any work with disadvantaged young people could benefit from recognising, not just young people’s aspirations, but also the foundations on which these goals are created.
Key words: youth work, disadvantaged young people, aspirations, outcomes, social mobility
The hollowing out of the welfare state has been widely examined revealing the marketisation of justice and welfare services. This paper examines the effects of this hollowing out on youth services and hyper-governed young people. Through telling stories, hyper-governed young people ‘call bullshit’ on the prioritisation of efficiency over justice and democratic participation within the marketised youth sector. To win government funding, youth services align themselves with political values. This alignment places pressure on practice frameworks and professional values underpinning youth service provision and professional practice. To examine this effect, this paper focuses on the inclusion of the principles of Fair Process into restorative practices. Twenty-eight young people participated in semi-structured interviews, and when presented with the principles of Fair Process in the interviews, hyper-governed young people told stories of unfair processes and wicked problems. The findings have implications for government policy and reinforce the need for youth workers and youth services to uphold core principles of restorative practices and youth work.
Key words: youth work, hyper-governance, marketisation, restorative practices, Fair Process
‘Tough on crime?’ How information shapes public support for the Children’s Court Drug Court
by Natalie Gately, Suzanne Ellis, James McCue & Magistrate Andree Horrigan
Diversion from the formal Criminal Justice System has been evidenced to result in better outcomes for young people engaging in criminal behaviour. However, moving away from traditional punishment is often unpopular with the public who perceive it as going “soft on crime”, a perception that can influence political agendas. “Attitude” data is often gauged by presenting the public with binary opinion polls or collected from an ill-informed public who are subsequently labelled as punitive. Therefore it is advised to educate the public before seeking their attitudes to criminal justice approaches. This methodology was adopted to examine attitudes towards the Children’s Court Drug Court in Western Australia (CCDC). A mixed methods approach was used to gauge public opinion through surveys (n=403) or interviews (n=60) by presenting information about the existence and aims of juvenile drug courts. Provided with accurate information, people were more likely to be supportive of the CCDC as an option. The findings are discussed in context of the implications for policy and practice.
Keywords: Young offenders, drug courts, youth justice, substance use, public opinion
PROJECTS AND PRACTICE
Chinese students in Tasmania: Report for the Asia Institute Tasmania
Prepared by Kate Gross and Rob White, Centre for Applied Youth Research (CAYR), June 2018
Members of the Centre for Applied Youth Research (CAYR) recently undertook a research-scoping project looking into issues and trends pertaining to Chinese students who come to Tasmania for a portion of their high school education (Years 7–12).
Australia should be a regional leader on youth, peace and security
by Helen Berents
The UN-led Youth, Peace and Security agenda highlights the benefits of working with youth to address violence and insecurity globally. Helen Berents believes Australia’s foreign policy is behind the curve when it comes to recognising and partnering with young people for positive change.