Youth forced to remain living in detention centre after their release

Youth forced to remain living in detention centre after their release

A Tasmanian youth who served time at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre was forced to stay living at the centre for more than a month after his release due to a lack of stable housing.

The youth was a client of Anglicare Tasmania's Supported Youth Program (SYP), a service that offers intensive case management and intervention for young people aged 10 to 18 years.

Anglicare Housing and Community Services general manager Noel Mundy said the young man had an extended stay in Ashley as he had nowhere else to live upon his release.

He said it was more than a month before alternative accommodation was found.

"He was ready to be released from Ashley but didn't have any stable accommodation or close family, at that time, who he could live with," Mr Mundy said.

A Communities Tasmania spokesperson said no resident is detained at the centre for longer than their court determined detention period.

"A multidisciplinary case management team works with each resident to conduct exit planning before they are released. All residents have an accommodation option confirmed in their exit plan," they said.

"During this process, engagement occurs with a parent, carer or guardian and the young person, who are encouraged and supported in contributing towards the exit planning process."

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Tenants Union of Tasmania principle solicitor Ben Bartl said keeping a child detained beyond their release date, due to a lack of transitional accommodation or housing, was appalling.

He called for greater investment for at-risk youth housing.

"There should never be a situation where someone is having to spend more time at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre because they have nowhere to move to," Mr Bartl said.

"The government should be significantly investing in the housing we need for at risk youth, to ensure that noone is detained for longer than they need to be, and to give them the best chance of making a success of their future," he said.

"Good policy would suggest that at risk youth need to be provided with safe and secure accommodation to give them the best chance of engaging with their families. If they don't have a place to call home then it is going to be very difficult for them to engage with education or job providers."

Children and youth minister Sarah Courtney said the government had invested $4.3 million to build modular youth housing that would assist young people transitioning from Ashley.

"The initiative will provide 20 modular youth homes across four sites around the state. Funding will also be provided for new Youth Coaches ... this initiative will give case managers and residents at AYDC further access to accommodation and support options for vulnerable young people."

This story Youth forced to remain living in detention centre after their release first appeared on The Advocate.