Rino’s story of being unsure of what he wanted to do after high school is not a unique one—he’d had enough of studying and just wanted to start working. Feeling lucky that he found a job in the bank, Rino began his working life. After a couple of years in this role (he counted 2 years and 6 days to be exact), he knew this wasn’t going to be long term for him. At this point in his working life, the only thing Rino was sure about was that he was a people person and that he might like working with young people.
Rino decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Welfare Studies. This marked the beginning of Rino’s justice journey. This choice of study led to work with Children’s Services before Rino completed a 2 year Social Work honours program at the University of Queensland.
“During the course I did a placement with the Youth Advocacy Centre (YAC) in Brisbane, a community legal and welfare centre for young people working mainly the youth justice setting. I enjoyed it immensely so after graduation I applied to work with them and I started by supporting community placement programs. These services provided accommodation support to young people with the aim of reuniting the young person with their family or to move them onto semi-independent/independent accommodation.”
After this placement, Rino moved to other YAC roles including social worker of the legal unit, a family support role, family counselling and individual one-on-one work with young people. The work through YAC included working with young people and families from multicultural communities around Brisbane and Rino was recognised for his dedicated work in this particular area.
“In 2003 I was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to young people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”
Rino’s justice journey took a new direction when he started a government role in 2006, joining Youth Justice as a Court Officer in the Court Services Unit
“I represented Youth Justice in different court jurisdictions that dealt with youth justice matters, including the Chilrens Court, the Childrens Court of Queensland, District Court and the Supreme Court.” Rino’s new position also allowed for his continued involvement in service delivery to young people subject to Youth Justice orders.
“My current role with Youth Justice Practice (Intensive Support) continues my contact with Youth Justice Service Centres and youth detention centres across the state. The project work and provision of complex practice advice to Brisbane CBD Youth Justicedirectorates, Service Centres and youth detention is challenging and rewarding. I work with a great group of people committed to making a difference in this area.”
Rino’s reflections on his work practices demonstrate a commitment, passion and understanding that have been developed throughout his career progression.
“Young people are an interesting and challenging group to work with. Most young people are open to change but will test your commitment to working with them. One of the main components of working with young people is to create an environment whereby young people are prepared and feel safe to try and make positive change in their life. In order to achieve change we have to do something different to the way we did before.”
“In my view, Youth Justice is continually moving in a positive direction. The 3 objectives of our current strategic plan to work together, act early and support change all contribute to the vision of building a world class youth justice system that effectively reduces crime.”