Facts about street kids made public

p2353-street-kids-okEXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Detailed information about young people in town at night has become public, probably for the first time, when Congress released statistics from the Youth Patrol yesterday.

 

Between August 18 and September 5 there were 259 children in the CBD at night who were assisted by the patrol which provided 444 transports to their homes in that period.

 

Previously only the number of lifts given were in the public domain, not the number of individuals.

 

Of these 259 children, 165 got a lift once, 54 twice, 17 three times, 10 four times, four of them five, six and seven times, respectively, and one eight times.

 

Congress says 35 of the children were aged under 10, 85 between 10 and 13, 117 between 14 and 17 and 22 were aged more than 18.

 

Congress is a partner in the scheme together with the Town Council, which provides assessment, transport and referral for young people at risk, and the NT Government, which funds the scheme.

 

Children who are assisted twice over a four week period from the streets of the CBD are referred to a weekly interagency joint case management scheme and their cases are reviewed. If they are not being case managed this is commenced, says a Congress spokesman.

 

Many of the younger children are taken home at 10pm following the weekly youth disco run at the Youth Centre on a Saturday night.

 

All children aged 12 or under who are taken home from the CBD, apart from the disco, are deemed to be at risk and are referred to the department of Children and Families in accordance with mandatory reporting requirements.

 

Congress says the program is a valuable tool to review the quality of care arrangements.

 

The Alice Springs News Online has been told by another source that a significant number of kids regularly in the streets are in the care of the Department of Children and Families. We are seeking information from the department.

 

UPDATE September 16:

 

A council source says “close to half” of the children going to the Youth Centre discos on Saturdays are in the streets on other days.

 

That means this would need to be taken into account when calculating the total number of children in the streets during the period under review.

 

The funding for the program from the previous government will run out on January 31, 2017 and no further arrangements have been made, according to the source.

 

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3 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. Robyn Janssen
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Do you really expect DCF to provide information as to how many of these kids are already in the care of DCF?
    Just need to walk down the Mall any night to see group home kids in large groups.
    Let’s ask DCF for transparency and to be accountable. Yeah, right.

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  2. Phil Danby
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 7:57 am

    It would be interesting to know the number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous. And also, how many of the children were transported directly from organized events like the disco?

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  3. Posted September 13, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Well that’s a start. Thank you Congress. Why on earth this was kept under wraps is a mystery.
    Let’s hope more accurate information follows. And pressure needs to be applied to the Gunner Government to provide good quality accountable child and youth services here.

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