Spread the word
Australia is very fortunate to have so many dedicated people working to improve the lives of young people through research, programs and practice. This issue features outstanding examples of work in all these areas.
In the first paper, Paul Wyles describes the development of a new youth justice centre in the Australian Capital Territory, which is based on principles of human rights. The result is an institution that reflects the care that has been taken to ensure it serves the best interests of young people in detention.
Paul concludes his article by noting “that to be effective in our interventions with young people in the justice system we need to intervene early, divert from the justice system where possible, ensure engagement with community agencies and follow up and follow through”.
In the second paper, Rosalyn Black and co-authors discuss a civic participation program called ruMAD? that is an impressive example of such an intervention. The paper provides case studies that highlight the program’s effective-ness in two schools in highly disadvantaged areas of Australia.
The third paper, by Erica Smith and Wendy Patton, also focuses on school students, but is concerned with their experience as workers. Their research challenges some of the perceptions of large corporations that employ teenagers.
The next two papers focus on the conditions of employment for youth workers in Australia. Although the demand for youth workers is increasing, and they are employed in an ever-increasing range of positions, including youth justice centres and schools, the conditions for youth workers fall far short of those of workers in comparative occupations such as nursing and teaching. In the fourth paper, Michael Emslie argues that there are many sound economic, policy and practice reasons why youth workers’ wages and conditions should be improved immediately.
In the fifth paper, Tim Corney, Robyn Broadbent and Lisa Darmanin argue that youth workers need to collectively organise themselves to achieve not only improved pay and working conditions but also to professionalise youth work. They suggest that “to not join the ‘professional’ with the ‘industrial’ is to divide and weaken the collective voice of youth workers”.
The final peer-reviewed paper is an exploration by Rob White of the ways in which Indigenous young people experience gang activity. Interviews with young Indigenous people reveal that gang membership is associated with a series of historical and contemporary issues that overlap in their lives.
This issue also includes a new feature for Youth Studies Australia. ‘Practice Notes’ will be an intermittent column devoted to articles of particular relevance to practitioners working directly with young people. The first article discusses the pros and cons of various technical options for consultation with young people.
We feel privileged to be able to disseminate the results of important research to those working in the youth field. If you find Youth Studies Australia useful, please urge your colleagues, management and employers to subscribe to the journal. We now have a range of low-cost subscription options that include hard-copy, online-only and combination subscriptions that cater for individuals through to small organisations. The effectiveness of resources such as YSA depends on people knowing about them. Please help us spread the word.