Elements of the scheme

The Youth on Track scheme has six key elements. Select a link below for more information about each element of the model.

  1. Identification and referral
  2. Screening
  3. Assessment
  4. Case management
  5. Intervention
  6. Exit

View a flowchart diagram of the path a young person may follow through the Youth on Track scheme [PDF, 14kb].

1. Identification and referral

Referrals to Youth on Track will be made by police and subsequently from specified schools. There will be automatic referral for young people who meet a set offending threshold, and more targeted referrals for others from police and schools.

Research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows that a third formal contact is a significantly accurate indicator of future offending and the best point for referral to Youth on Track. Therefore, any young person on their third formal legal contact will be automatically referred to Youth on Track for screening.

2. Screening

Screening will be done using an actuarial tool that uses key data available in the justice system. The tool has been developed by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) specifically for Youth on Track. It is anticipated that the bulk of participants in Youth on Track will enter through this method of referral and this is the only method that will be used on the commencement of the program.

There is a range of other factors that can indicate the likelihood of offending for young people much earlier in their criminal career. During the first 12 months of operation the Department of Justice will work with the NSW Police to develop a screening method, which may be able to identify young offenders prior to their third formal involvement with the justice system.

A process for referrals from schools will be determined following further discussion with the Department of Education and Communities. All referrals will be made to a small screening unit in the Department of Justice, which will facilitate the screening process and then refer those who have a higher than the pre-determined level of re-offending to the relevant case manager.

Following screening, a young person who has been identified as having a high likelihood of offending/re-offending, will be assigned a case manager.

3. Assessment

If a young person is already being case managed by another agency, it is likely that case management is not targeting criminogenic risk. Youth on Track will make contact with that case manager and provide them with an assessment of the young person's offending behaviour and advice and assistance in addressing the offending. The Youth on Track case manager will not become directly involved with the young person but will be available to assist the case manager by providing specialist advice and making services or programs available that target criminogenic risk.

If a young person is not already being case managed, the case manager will contact the young person and their family, or a person responsible for the young person, and seek to engage them in the Youth on Track program.

If the young person and their family, or a person responsible for the young person, do not consent to participate, the case manager will still develop a plan based on available information and seek to contact agencies that may be working with that young person to provide them with advice about the young person's behaviour and strategies that may mitigate their risk.

If the young person and their family consent, the case manager will conduct a thorough assessment of level of the young person's criminogenic risks and need. The assessment will be conducted using a specifically designed tool, the Youth Level of Service Case Management Inventory (YLS-CMI). This tool is licensed from Multi-Health Systems Inc. It has been tested internationally, adjusted for Australian conditions, and has been specifically assessed in its accuracy with Indigenous young people.

4. Case management

The case management and supervisory function will be managed through contracted non-government organisations (NGOs).

The case manager will be responsible for working directly with the young person and their family, or those responsible for the young person, to change those things in their environment that are leading to offending behaviour. They will be responsible for identifying and arranging access to, or brokering services, and programs, as well as providing some services directly (e.g. counselling and motivational interviewing).

Youth on Track will use three levels of case management: low, medium and high. The level will be set according to the outcome of the YLS-CMI assessment and level of risk and need of each young person and their family. Levels of risk and need will vary with the individuals on the program, with some offenders having a relatively high risk but low levels of need. It will take less effort to curb these individual's re-offending, while others may have relatively lower risks but their needs are high and require a greater level of intervention.

Case managers will be expected to have a level of professional qualification and experience in case management. Each case manager will be assigned a mix of cases across the three levels of intensity and the same case manager will work with clients as they progress through their plans. Case managers will also be able to seek specialised assistance, such as psychological assessments or treatment, for intensive clients when required.

Each case manager will have a direct Supervisor. The Supervisor's role will be to approve all assessments and case plans and to conduct periodic reviews of progress against objectives for each plan.

5. Intervention

Following the YLS-CMI assessment, the case manager will develop a case plan. The plan will identify interventions targeting criminogenic risks and for meeting urgent social needs of the young person and their family. While each plan will be specific to the needs of the young person and their family it is anticipated that many will involve common elements, such as re-engagement with the education system and strengthening the family. Each case plan will focus on achieving specific measurable objectives directly linked to the identified criminogenic risk and need. The case plan will have a specific time limit and have set review points.

6. Exit

The Supervisor will determine if a young person moves from one stage of case management to the next and determine when a case may be closed and a person exited from the program. The Supervisor plays a crucial role in ensuring quality in the case management process, and ensuring key decisions in that process are made objectively and outside the case management relationship.