Youth Crime Prevention Officers, Kaye Turner & Kim Bryce from Armadale Police, with Save the Children’s Karina Chicote and Steve Dyson    (Photo: Community Newspaper Group)

Save the Children:

Building a Better Tomorrow for Armadale Youth

An international children’s charity and the WA Police are working together to reduce juvenile crime in the Armadale region, with a special emphasis on helping local aboriginal young people to turn their lives around.  Our guest speaker this week gave a very articulate, informative and passionate talk about the “Strong Tomorrow” programme, which is making a real difference in our community.

Karina Chicote is the Youth Programme Coordinator (Perth Metropolitan) for Save The Children Australia and is a great advocate for the cause. She was accompanied at our meeting by Save the Children’s Business Development Consultant, Tony McManus.

“Strong Tomorrow” is a secondary intervention programme. Save the Children works in collaboration with local Youth Crime Prevention Officers  (YCIOs)  to support young offenders to reduce offending, through addressing the underlying social and environmental issues that lead to crime, marginalisation and victimisation, through mentoring and intensive support.

Juvenile crime is not only costly to the community but to young lives caught up in it. “Strong Tomorrow” helps the young people develop life skills and cultural values.

Sadly, there is a very strong over-representation of Aboriginal youth in Western Australia’s crime scene, with 75% of juvenile youth in detention being of Aboriginal background—and 20% of these are from the Armadale area.  So programmes like “Strong Tomorrow” need to receive ongoing funding to turn the tide. The programme has a very impressive success rate. One example cited was that of a young boy who went from 22 offences prior to involvement in the programme to no offences following. Others had an 85% reduction in offences.  100% of participants say that the programme has helped them.

An initial Government grant of $25,000 has demonstratively saved the Government $140,000 that would have been incurred through crimes that are not being committed as a result of the intervention.  Save the Children are digging into their own funds to maintain the programme. Members and friends of Rotary are encouraged to canvas politicians and people of influence with a view to a further grant being made to keep  “Strong Tomorrow” up and running.