Home > Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister of State James Browne announce new Youth Diversion Projects.

[Department of Health] Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister of State James Browne announce new Youth Diversion Projects. (22 Aug 2023)

External website: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/8088f-minister...

Important milestone on commitment to make the YDP service available to every young person who needs it. Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne TD have today confirmed the selection of four new Youth Diversion Projects to receive funding. Youth Diversion Projects (YDPs) work with young people at risk of crime and anti-social behaviour to divert them away from criminal behaviour and towards better life outcomes. They are a key support to An Garda Síochána in the operation of the statutory Garda Youth Diversion Programme under the Children Act 2001. Funding for YDPs and other Youth Justice measure has increased substantially in recent years, from €18 million in 2020 to a total allocation of just over €30 million in Budget 2023 

The four successful applications have been chosen in areas - Monaghan, Wicklow, Cork and Mayo - which have been selected for new YDPs following an open application and appraisal process. They will receive funding of at least €1.5 million this year. The announcements of the new YDPs brings the Government closer to achieving its target of having full national coverage of YDPs, ensuring that a service is available to every young person who needs it. Another two YDPs are needed to achieve national rollout, and these are expected to be announced over the coming months.  

There are currently 106 YDPs across the State and the additional four will, when operational, bring that total to 110. These include eight Youth Diversion Projects covering the Dublin City Centre area which work with those between 12-17 years old and 8-11 years old, as well as providing family supports. These eight projects have received more than €3.2million in total funding this year. 

Speaking today, Minister McEntee said said: 

    “I am committed to building stronger, safer communities and, while high visibility policing is important, I know this goal cannot be achieved by policing alone.     ”We must also look at wider solutions to ensure our communities are safe places for people to live, work and bring up their families in.     “By improving outcomes for young people at risk of a life of criminality we can make a lasting difference to the quality of life not just for young people, but for the entire community.     “The funding we provide for youth diversion is always guided by the best available research and expert evidence to keep young people away from crime.     “My colleague Minister Browne is doing excellent work in implementing the Youth Justice Strategy and we are both determined to see full national coverage for YDPs over the coming months.” 

Today’s announcement follows the publication of the first YDP Evaluation Report in June by Minister Browne. The report noted the very positive ongoing work by YDPs, including the high levels of engagement from participants and the overwhelmingly positive impact they are having on the majority of young people who engage their services. 

The evaluation showed that young people engaging in YDPs were less involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour, had improved self-confidence and communication skills, had increased happiness, and an overall improved sense of hope. 

Minister McEntee added: 

    “The evaluation report shows that interventions by our YDPs result in young people becoming less involved in crime and anti-social behaviour and more hopeful about their futures.     “We will continue to look at how we can support at-risk young people through youth diversion interventions. The most recent funding round for YDPs specifically sought proposals on how to interact more successfully with the ‘harder to reach’ cohort, which included ensuring that there is interaction at weekends.     “The selected applications will also all include dedicated family support workers and will provide a variety of family support programmes and assistance.” 

Minister Browne said: 

    “The selection of these new projects is another important step towards the achievement of the Youth Justice Strategy’s commitment to having YDP services available in all areas across the State. I’ve been lucky to visit YDPs the length and breadth of the country and have seen the positive impacts that they have on young people and local communities, something which was highlighted in the recent YDP evaluation.     “Youth justice interventions are not about young people avoiding punishment or consequences. They are about recognising that many young people who stray from the proper path need support and direction to get their lives back on track.     “I want to congratulate all those involved in the four successful projects. Every euro we invest in our children’s future will pay back in spades and, when operational, these new Youth Diversion Projects will offer the type of early interventions and supports that can put at-risk young people on a better path.”

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