As a Torres Strait Islander woman and government employee I have been able to apply my knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions, history and culture in a statutory human services context through the provision of youth justice services to young people and their families.
I have been working in the area of Youth Justice for the past 15 years, starting out as a Case Worker, working directly with young people and their families and over the years I have had the opportunity to act in a number of different roles including middle management such as a leader and project manager. I have undertaken a range of projects and activities including managing funding initiatives, facilitating workshops and training and leading and managing both departmental and whole of government strategic action plans. I have also assumed project management responsibility for many key projects such as the development and implementation of a departmental strategy to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the criminal justice system and more recently the formation of the Youth Justice First Nations Action Board. There is a disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the statutory systems and I believe it is important to create self-determination in the hope of reversing this trajectory.
In my current role as Acting Manager of the Youth Justice Cultural Unit I have the opportunity to work with a team with a primary focus on ensuring youth justice policy, programs and interventions are designed and delivered appropriately for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, their families and communities. The Youth Justice Cultural Unit also gives capacity to ensure the Youth Justice First Nations Action Board’s priorities are embedded into practice.