Youth Off The Streets program to prevent youth crime in the Illawarra

father_chris_lunch2.jpgFederal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today welcomed the expansion of Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets Outreach Program to commence in Berkeley, supporting young people at risk of falling off the tracks and getting involved in crime.

“I’ve asked for Father Chris Riley to bring Youth Off The Streets to Berkeley,” said Jones.

“It combines Federal funding with an innovative approach to youth services.”

“Berkeley was chosen based on its high youth unemployment and community concern about anti-social behaviour. This is the where Youth Off The Streets can have the biggest impact.”

“Youth Off The Streets will work with local community members, organisations and governments to re-engage young people who are currently out of school or work and help set them on a path for success.”

“The team will establish a shopfront in the coming months, which will offer a range of activities to help young people realise their potential to contribute to the local area,” said Jones.

The program targets young people aged between 12 and 21 and operates in areas where young people normally gather. The service provides low key and positive diversionary activities that allow young people to interact and socialise as well as meet with youth workers.

The Federal Government has funded a $5 million expansion of Youth Off The Streets, which will more than double the number of Outreach Services it will run from eight to 18.

“The funds will be used to employ youth workers, lease shopfronts, provide vehicles so the youth workers can meet young people at locations where they normally gather and purchase food supplies for the outreach programs,” said Jones.

In a similar program run in Macquarie Fields, Police have reported a 40 per cent reduction in local crime levels since Youth Off The Streets began providing outreach services in the area.

“Father Chris Riley a while and his team have done a fantastic job in the past and I am pleased that young people in the Illawarra will receive the support they need,” Jones said.

“I look forward to seeing the Youth Off the Streets team in Berkeley and the outcomes of their work with young people” said Jones.

The Youth Off The Streets Outreach Program is funded by the National Crime Prevention Fund from confiscated proceeds of crime.

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