National Youth Justice Strategy
The National Youth Justice Strategy 2008 - 2010 was launched in Farmleigh on 27 March 2008 by the Minister for Children, Mr Brendan Smith TD. The Strategy covers the 3 year period from 2008 to 2010 and focuses on children who have already had some contact with the criminal justice system. The aim of the Strategy is to provide a partnership approach among agencies working in the youth justice system.
Based on the principles of the Children Act 2001, as amended, and the Government’s decision to reform the youth justice area, the Strategy contains five high level goals:
1. To provide leadership and build public confidence in the youth justice system;
2. To work to reduce offending by diverting young people from offending behaviour;
3. To promote the greater use of community sanctions and initiatives to deal with young people who offend;
4. To provide a safe and secure environment for detained children which will assist their early re-integration into the community;
5. To strengthen and develop information and data sources in the youth justice system to support more effective policies and services.
The Strategy will be progressed at a national level by the National Youth Justice Oversight Group, which the Minister for Children has established in order to facilitate the cross-agency collaboration needed. This group will be chaired by Ms Sylda Langford, Director General of the Office of the Minister for Children, and will also include Ms Michelle Shannon, National Director of the Irish Youth Justice Service, Mr Aidan Browne, CEO of the Children Acts Advisory Board, Ms Mary Doyle, Assistant Secretary from the Department of the Taoiseach, Mr Hugh Kane from the Health Service Executive, Assistant Commissioner Louis Harkin of An Garda Síochána and Mr Paddy McDonagh, Assistant Secretary from the Department of Education and Science. Officials from other Departments and agencies may also be involved as required to report on progress in the areas under their remit.
At local level, where appropriate, Youth Justice Teams will be established as sub-groups of Children’s Services Committees to enhance delivery of outcomes for the children involved.