On this page

  • Policy and strategic context
  • Practice considerations
  • Incident Reporting
  • Learnings from implementation to date

Policy and strategic context

Since the YCPP began, the policy and practice environment has evolved. The following Victorian Government strategies help to inform the context in which YCPP services are delivered. You are encouraged to review the strategies and their practical implications on YCPP services with your partners and refine your service delivery approach.

The Crime Prevention Strategy

The Victorian Government’s Crime Prevention Strategy (the Strategy) was released in June 2021 and emphasises community-led approaches to addressing the underlying causes of crime, improving community safety and preventing contact with the justice system.

The Strategy in underpinned by three Action Areas:

  1. Empower and invest in communities to implement local solutions
  2. Enhance and connect support for people and communities in need
  3. Evidence and impact for effective and innovative approaches

While the YCPP is a core component of the Strategy under Action Area Two, it also offers the opportunity to test new approaches to preventing youth offending, improve access to effective supports by enhancing sector capability and apply a place-based approach to preventing youth offending. In this way, the program contributes to all three Action Areas.

Better, Connected Care

The Better, Connected Care (BCC) reform is an initiative that brings together departments across government, agencies, and the community sector to achieve a shared vision of:

Better, connected care and services for people with multiple needs, supported by stronger partnerships and earlier intervention, to achieve improved client outcomes and reduce demand on acute services.

This vision is underpinned by the following approaches:

Client centred

A client centred and integrated service system where clients can access the services they need to make lasting positive change to their lives

Early intervention

Services designed to intervene earlier and deliver better outcomes

Lived experience

Services guided by lived experience and designed and delivered with input from people with lived experience of the service system


Systems and services that promote and deliver Aboriginal self-determination, including through funding and supporting Aboriginal Community Controlled

Locally led

Place-based and locally led strategic decision making, community engagement and performance monitoring. 

A key pillar of the BCC reform is the establishment of Local Site Executive Committees (LSECs) - local governance that enables cross portfolio strategic decision-making, direction setting and collective leadership. While membership varies by place, LSECs can bring together leaders across Victorian Government departments, Aboriginal organisations, and sector organisations to implement reform focused on local area priorities and cohorts who access services across multiple systems.

As LSECs adopt a place-based approach to delivering the reform, they have flexibility to respond to identified issues and priorities within their local context. All LSECs covering YCPP locations have prioritised the need to join up and strengthen early intervention approaches for young people.

YCPP providers will also be supported to connect with the BCC Local Site Executive Committees (LSECs) to support alignment with LSEC priorities.

Other relevant policies and initiatives

The Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-2030 sets out a long-term plan for the delivery of Victorian Youth Justice services. This includes improving the approach to diversion and early intervention and enhancing partnerships between Youth Justice and other services to improve rehabilitation and life outcomes for young people.

In 2024 the age of criminal responsibility in Victoria will increase to 12 years and then to 14 years in 2027. These changes will necessitate an alternative service-based response for young people and emphasises the important role early intervention and prevention services will continue to play.

The Victorian Government’s Our promise your future: Victoria’s youth strategy 2022-2027 sets out key priorities to maximise opportunities for young people, and ensure Victorian Government services listen to and respond to their lived experience. The strategy emphasises the importance of:

  • Targeted, age-appropriate services – particularly for young people in the younger age ranges.
  • Focusing on prevention and early intervention through wrap-around supports and evidence-informed models of care.
  • Providing services that are culturally safe and inclusive of diversity

Practice considerations

Working with children and young people

The Department of Justice and Community Safety is committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. We seek to prevent harm of any kind impacting children and young people and have zero tolerance for racism, child abuse and inequality. Children and young people's rights, relationships, identity, and culture must be recognised and respected, their voices heard, and their concerns acted upon. We aim to foster a culturally safe, child safe and child friendly environment for all children and young people we have contact with, deliver services to, or are impacted by our work.

The eleven Child Safe Standards are compulsory for all organisations that provide services or facilities to children and are designed to assist organisations to prevent child abuse, encourage the reporting of abuse and improve responses to allegations of child abuse. Information on the standards, including how your organisation can become a Child Safe Organisation, and useful information resources are available from the Commission for Children and Young People website.

People engaging in ‘child-related work’ must apply for and pass the Working with Children (WWC) Check. The WWC Check helps to keep children safe by preventing those who pose a risk to the safety of children from working with them, in either paid or volunteer work. For more information visit Working with Children.

In addition to complying with the Child Safe Standards, you are also required to maintain insurance against child abuse that meets the minimum standards. Further information on this requirement is available from the Department website.

The Department has the right to request evidence of compliance with these requirements at any time.

Incident Reporting

Incidents involving young people who are receiving support through a YCPP funded service must be reported to the Department within one business day of the incident occurring. This can include:

  • harm to YCPP associated young person/s
  • harm caused by YCPP associated young person/s
  • police involvement, or
  • ambulance attendance or hospital admission.

The following information should be sent via email to your designated Departmental contact:

  • date and time of incident
  • location of incident
  • description of incident (who was involved, how did the incident occur?)
  • what action has been/will be taken to address the incident, and
  • whether there has been or is likely to be any media interest in the incident.

Learnings from implementation to date

The YCPP evaluation presented a range of findings with regards to program strengths, as well as recommendations to further improve program delivery. These are summarised on the following page

Providing culturally safe and inclusive support

Projects need to be aware of cultural backgrounds that might be over-represented in their local area and ensure the lead agency and partner staff have completed cultural competency training where available. The Victorian Government provides information on working with people from diverse background here.

Flexibility maximised opportunity

Flexibility was found to be a key enabler of YCPP. Tailoring support for participants based on their needs increases rapport and is highly effective. Support should be person-centred and adaptive.

More intensive work with young people

Low caseloads allowed project staff to build rapport and undertake intensive casework with participants. It is also effective to incorporate lived experiences and trauma-informed practices.

Working with families led to success

Involving families kept participants engaged and provided greater insight. This led to improved stability at home and increased family support skills and knowledge about services. YCPP takes a strengths-based approach which promotes resilience and lasting positive impacts for young people.

Strong partnerships between stakeholders

The development of strong, effective partnerships between local agencies is a key focus of YCPP. It is important for projects to actively engage partners in the design and coordination of services to improve referral pathways and sector knowledge. Projects may wish to use a partnership tool such as the VicHealth Partnership Analysis Tool to assess partnerships.

Additional support services

Some projects found the complexity of needs within the target cohort greater than anticipated. Warm referrals to other support services can increase uptake. Additionally, engaging these types of key services on project steering committees can enhance insights and help to coordinate holistic support.


The evaluation emphasised the need to review terms of reference, and extension offers an opportunity to review governance arrangements and ensure key stakeholders are involved. DJCS representatives can help connect projects to stakeholders within the Victorian Government and those involved in other projects.


Reboot (Latrobe) utilised brokerage funds to ensure a person-centred approach. The project harnessed the flexibility of program funds to alleviate costs associated with tuition and uniform fees, and educational equipment.
Reignite (Geelong) used a small amount of funding for the Client Voice Project. The project sought to identify achievable actions for government, service providers, and workers to better incorporate the lived experience of young people into service design and delivery.
MAST (Ballarat) conducted a research report into the lived experiences of project participants. The report indicated that families had to retell their stories repeatedly to service providers, contributing to fatigue and feelings of hopelessness. To address this issue MAST negotiated a significant improvement to practice and system delivery guided by lived experience. Additionally, the project has embedded the ‘Voice of the Child’ practice into panel presentations to promote developmentally and culturally appropriate solutions.
Out Teach (Shepparton) held regular partnership meetings through their Referral Panel that involved members from both the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Justice and Community safety. This partnership provided opportunities to collaborate on feedback, operational support, and service coordination from different departmental perspectives in service delivery