Street kids ‘agency’ refuses to disclose numbers

p2339-Mooney-Kudrenko-1 By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

How many street kids are there in Alice Springs? Don’t ask. It’s a secret – apparently.

 

At Monday’s town council meeting it was disclosed that during June the Youth Patrol gave lifts home on 1149 occasions to children under the age of 18.

 

The Alice Springs News Online was later told by the Council that some were transported more than once, and that the council records the names, gender, location of pick-up, home address and age of these children, as well as the circumstances under which they were given the lifts.

 

Over the years there has been a huge amount of guessing about the number of street kids in Alice Springs. The current Youth Patrol statistics are clearly a useful indicator.

 

There are three partners in the Youth Patrol: The Town Council, the NT Government and Congress.

 

We put the question about numbers of individual children – not any other details – to the Town Council’s CEO Rex Mooney on Wednesday morning, and added: “When possible, please let me know how many reports were made to child welfare authorities about the reasons for the lifts that may have been reportable circumstances, such as neglect or abuse.”

 

On that day the following email exchange took place:–

 

Mr Mooney: “The male and female statistics for June are as reported in your article. Releasing information about referrals to the Department of Children and Families will need to be authorized at a joint meeting of the agencies (every Thursday).  I have asked the Manager Rangers (Kevin Everett) to raise this at tomorrow’s meeting.”

 

The Alice Springs News Online emailed: “Can we just have the numbers of individuals, please, not the other circumstances?”

 

Mr Mooney: “Sorry, but I am not in a position to release this information until the approval is granted by the joint agency meeting which will take place tomorrow.  I will contact you after the meeting.”

 

Cut to Friday. Mr Mooney emailed us: “The joint agency discussed this issue and has indicated, as the information is confidential, it is not prepared to publicly release the statistics.  Sorry I am unable to assist.”

 

Email from the News to the Council, the Chief Minister and Congress: “How did your representative vote, at yesterday’s meeting of the joint agency, for or against release of the information I have requested?”

 

p2154-Adam-GilesReply from a spokesman for Adam Giles (pictured): “The Chief Minister has no objection to the number being released.”

 

So clearly it wasn’t the NT Government representative at the “agency” meeting who voted against releasing the number.

 

We received no reply on the vote from Congress nor the Council. Do one of them want to keep the public in the dark? Or both?

 

Stand by for more.

 

PHOTO: Mr Mooney and Cr Jade Kudrenko, chairperson of the Town Council Community Services Committee which on Monday passed a unanimous vote for a comprehensive approach to the problem of street kids.

 

 

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5 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Hal Duell
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I agree with Paul Parker. If Council (read Alice ratepayers) is going to buy into this, then it’s only fair we are given some info to work with.
    What’s the problem in telling age and sex with an indication of recidivists? Come on ACTC. You ask us to trust you. How about you trust us?

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  2. Paul Parker
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    The same 20 individuals 52 times? The number of individuals should be released, with break-down into ages and sex.
    Or is it that funding for these programs does NOT require accurate details?

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  3. Mark
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Perhaps some creative thinking might have the patrols going BACK to the identified drop-off points days later and inquiring if the “carers” know where their kids are then.
    Oh, invasion of privacy (I’m predicting) seems to come before preventing invasion of our homes and businesses. Not to mention the risk that these kids are to themselves and each other.

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  4. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Mr Mooney emailed us: “The joint agency discussed this issue and has indicated, as the information is confidential, it is not prepared to publicly release the statistics. Sorry I am unable to assist.”
    Only the numbers were asked for, so I can think of few reasons for the undisclosed statistics:
    • They do not know.
    • There are not so many of them but only the same gangs.
    • They are worried the number will show their lack of competence in the matter.
    [ED – They do know because the name of every individual child given a lift is recorded.]

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  5. Peter
    Posted July 16, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    We have absolutely no children at risk in Tennant Creek. John Elferink said so.

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