Drug dependency can have a devastating impact on children, their futures and their families, and can have negative impacts on the broader community. We introduced new laws to provide the option of mandatory treatment for children experiencing drug dependency.
The draft Model of Care for Phase 1 of Youth Treatment Orders recognises the importance of intervening effectively to address substance abuse before children reach adulthood. The Youth Treatment Orders program aims to treat drug dependence in children as early as possible in the hope of reducing the likelihood and severity of drug related harms. The Youth Treatment Orders program has been designed to support children in the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre. This includes ensuring the safety, and rights of these children are maintained throughout the program.
The Controlled Substances (Youth Treatment Orders) Amendment Act 2019 was passed by Parliament on 14 November 2019, and provides the legislative framework for the Youth Treatment Orders program.
Phase 1 of the Youth Treatment Orders program will commence for children in the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre and may expand to children in the community. Community implementation of the program will depend on review of Phase 1 of the Youth Treatment Orders program and a further decision by Government.
The state government announced that any new laws will only come into effect following broad public consultation on implementation of the program, and once all necessary facilities and programs have been identified and established.
A key factor of the Youth Treatment Orders program is the making of Assessment and Treatment Orders by the Youth Court.
SA Health, on behalf of the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, convened an Interagency Working Group for Youth Treatment Orders.
Membership of the Interagency Working Group consists of key agencies whose input is helping to develop a robust, safe and effective program which is responsive to the needs of children and the community. These agencies will either be responsible for implementing the program or represent children most impacted by this new policy. Membership includes:
- Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia;
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Women’s and Children’s Health Network);
- The Department of Human Services (Youth Justice);
- The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist;
- The Attorney-General’s Department;
- The Department of the Premier and Cabinet (Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)
- The Department for Child Protection;
- The Courts Administration Authority;
- South Australia Police; and
- The Department for Education.
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