Support for families of young people

There are two types of assistance provided to families or carers who need support exercise appropriate control, safeguard and promote the wellbeing of their young person. 

These are:

  • a family responsibility agreement
  • a family responsibility order.

Family responsibility agreements are entered into with the Family Responsibility Program to assist parents or carers needing help with the behaviour of their young person. 

A family responsibility order is made by the Youth Justice Court when a family responsibility agreement has failed or where a family have unreasonably refused to enter into a family responsibility agreement, and there is a belief an order may resolve the issues. 

This includes either:

  • continued antisocial behaviour of the young person
  • or if the parents or carers have refused to sign or not followed a family responsibility agreement. 

Family responsibility agreements

Who can get a family responsibility agreement

Family responsibility agreements can be offered to any mum, dad, step-parent or carer who is involved with the care of a young person, who generally lives in the same family home.

The Family Responsibility Program staff will usually try to contact all of the parents or carers of the young person to discuss what each of them can do to help improve the child’s behaviour and the types of support that might be needed.

Depending on the circumstances, the parents or carers may then enter into a joint family responsibility agreement or separate family responsibility agreements.

What an agreement or order involves

Under the agreement or order the parents or carers agree to do certain things, such as:  

  • making sure their young person goes to school every day
  • attending and supporting young people in the youth justice system
  • ensuring the young person is at home during the evening
  • encouraging the young person not to associate with other peers who may be offending or involved other antisocial behaviour.

There may also be counselling, courses and other programs agreed and/or ordered for the parents to make the changes they need to build their parenting skills. 

The Family Responsibility Program will take a coordination and/or lead role with cases where there are multiple agencies involved.

This involves providing a structured case management framework for agencies who have responsibilities related to the youth's welfare to work together cooperatively and effectively to help parents. 

The Family Responsibility Program in return agrees to provide particular support so that parents or carers can do the things they have agreed to do.

What happens if the order is not followed

If an order is not followed, parents and carers could face one or more of the following:

  • prosecution by police
  • a fine of more than $2000
  • community work if they don’t pay the fine
  • have their non-essential family goods seized to the value of the fine.

Last updated: 27 June 2017