Today, Youth Off The Streets opens the doors to a new Centre for Youth in Cordeaux Heights. Members of the local community will join us to celebrate the transformation of the old Keelong Juvenile Justice Centre into what is now a fully operating centre offering rehabilitation and educational services to young people aged 12-18 facing disadvantage and who require support for them to realise their full potential.
The centre, located at 92 Staff Road, Cordeaux Heights, will provide a safe and engaging environment for young people who reside or access the services there.
These include our Barbara Holborow bail accommodation service, aboriginal residential care service and Craig Davis college.
Our Barbara Holborow bail accommodation service is a new program for us and pays homage to the legacy of Barbara Holborow and her work with young people in the Juvenile Justice system.
Barbara believed that resources should be placed around young people when they first offend to divert them from entering juvenile detention centres.
The program is a bail accommodation service that provides accommodation for young males between the ages of 12 and 16 who would otherwise be held in custody on remand due to a lack of suitable, safe, alternative bail options.
It attempts to address a significant gap in the range of services available to young people, particularly those who would benefit from diversionary activities to improve their current circumstances.
The program provides 24/7 support and supervision and offers strength-based interventions through accommodation, education, social and emotional support.
The second residential program at the centre is an extension of our culturally driven residential program for young people aged 12-17 years.
The Department of Family and Community Services refers young Aboriginal males into our aboriginal residential care services in the Southern Highlands, where they are encouraged to build self resilience and self confidence, and experience a strong sense of pride in their cultural identity and heritage.
When these young men are ready to focus on the skills necessary to actively seek employment and engage in programs that enable them to access and enrol in further education courses, they will move to the Cordeaux Heights centre where they will have greater access to community services in Illawarra.
The site will also be home to a new registered and accredited independent high school, Craig Davis College, which provides state of the art classrooms and learning areas for young people who have become disengaged from mainstream education.
This is Youth Off The Street’s fifth school and will offer students the opportunity to complete Year 10 and Year 11 and go on to achieve the Higher School Certificate.
Thanks to the funding support from the Regional Development Australia Fund to complete the refurbishment of the site and the assistance from Wollongong council, local community members and services, we are honoured to be able to provide this service in the region.
I would like to thank all the guests who came to share with us what we consider to be a great achievement towards helping more young people to turn their lives around.
Father Chris Riley is the founder and CEO of Youth Off The Streets.
Website: www.youthoffthestreets.com.au; email: email@example.com; phone: 4223 7501; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/youthoffthestreetsaustralia; Twitter: @YOTSAustralia
See tomorrow's Illawarra Mercury for full coverage of the Centre's opening.