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Publication details

Nisbet, IA, Graham, A & Newell, S 2011, Working together to reduce youth recidivism: exploring the potential of a 'Wraparound' Interagency Service Model, prepared for the Indigenous Coordination Centre, Coffs Harbour, NSW.


The Family Inclusion Project (FIP) was operational between November 2010 and June 2011. The origins of the project were a series of discussions between senior officers of Juvenile Justice and the Coffs Harbour Indigenous Coordination Centre (ICC) in early 2010. The venue for these discussions was the North Coast Justice and Human Services Regional Forum. This venue is a multi-agency forum coordinated by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. Its purpose is to coordinate the various justice and human service programs in regional NSW. The ICC and Juvenile Justice recognised that they had shared agenda in terms of reducing both Indigenous over-representation and levels of juvenile recidivism in the criminal justice system.

These agencies approached the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University to coordinate and evaluate the implementation of a Wraparound model of intervention with Juvenile Justice clients. The community of Kempsey on the North Coast of NSW was chosen as the site to conduct the project as it has a history of high levels of general and Indigenous juvenile recidivism and is also the site of a number of government funded family support agencies.

The Family Inclusion Project therefore mirrored the collaborative effort that it sought to implement and evaluate. The project was funded by the Indigenous Coordination Centre, coordinated by the Centre for Children and Young People and staffed by a psychologist with research expertise seconded from Juvenile Justice.

“Wraparound” is an individualised and strengths-based way of working with families with complex needs. It relies on collaboration among service providers and is based on 10 principles. These principles include promoting family voice and choice in the casework process and using natural supports such as families‟ networks of interpersonal and community relationships, as well as community based services.

The project was important because Wraparound offers a different approach to working with Juvenile Justice clients, which has largely focused on the individual client rather than the families and agencies supporting them. A key feature of the Juvenile Justice Corporate Plan 2010-2013, however, is to improve its community based services by increased use of family-focused programs and interventions and by developing effective relationships with other service providers in all areas of NSW.

The Coffs Harbour Indigenous Coordination Centre funded a 12-month trial of a Wraparound casework approach and the project officer was seconded to the Centre for Children and Young People in August 2010. The project concluded with the release of this evaluation report in August 2011.