Youth Justice Agency launches reinvigorated local services in Belfast Central (29/05/2012)The Youth Justice Agency has held an open day at its Belfast Central office to launch its reinvigorated services within the local community.
The Belfast Central Area Office, one of eight new Youth Justice Agency area teams established across Northern Ireland, also covers South and East Belfast and these new arrangements will ensure that Agency staff are now better equipped to deliver a more cohesive and integrated approach for young people, their families, communities and victims in all local areas.
An internal reorganisation has not only delivered a realignment of local Agency services but has also resulted in a streamlining of management structures across the Agency and a rationalisation of resources, including staffing and premises.
Guests from the statutory, community and voluntary sectors attending the launch heard about the range of community based orders and services delivered by the Agency and were able to speak directly to staff, victims of crime and young people who have become involved in offending behaviour. They also had the opportunity to meet with some parents who have been availing of support services. Examples of arts and crafts undertaken by young people undergoing reparation activities were on display throughout the building, as well as examples of youth conference plans agreed and apology letters completed.
Highlights of the day included a practical demonstration of a youth conference - a restorative meeting between the young person and their victim – and a worked example of how the delivery of a community order is monitored for completion. This was followed by an opportunity to hear of the personal experiences of some of those who had been through the process. Members of staff from the Agency’s Custodial Services were also present to explain what happens when a young person is either remanded or sentenced to custody in Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre.
Assistant Director of the Youth Justice Agency’s Belfast Central Area team, Yvonne Adair said:
“Our new Area team structures mean that Youth Justice Agency staff are now better organised and prepared for delivering our full range of services throughout the community whether that be in Central, South or East Belfast. This allows us to provide a continuity of service and respond effectively and restoratively to local youth offending needs within communities.
“We remain committed to reducing youth crime, to repairing the harm caused by offending and to restoring relationships that have often been broken as a result. Of course we recognise that we cannot do this alone and rely on the services of others to help us achieve our goal. The Agency will now have a more structured approach to working at a local level with our criminal justice partners and those organisations which provide vital support services to young people who quite often have complex issues in their lives, including mental health problems, drugs and alcohol addictions and homelessness. We look forward to developing these partnerships further and coordinating our services in a more joined-up manner.”
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