Youth worker claims she’s told not to report juvenile crimes


EXCLUSIVE: Youth worker claims she’s told not to report juvenile crimes

A Townsville youth care worker claims Queensland’s Department of Children has told her not to report crimes being committed by juveniles in care.

Sky News has concealed Monika’s identity but has verified that she is a youth care worker in a Townsville residential care home.

Residential care homes can house up to six children in one property and have staff rostered on various shifts to supervise.

“If we know that a child or have suspicions that a child has committed a crime, we get our management to inform the department,” Monika told Sky News.

“The department then tells us how we’re supposed to respond and a lot of the time they tell us not to call the police.

“In speaking to Child Safety After Hours, which is the service for emergency services or carers in the state after business hours, if we need to call child safety to report anything, they have instructed us not to report bail breaches and curfew breaches.”

The Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs has refuted some of the claims made and issued a statement to Sky News in response.

“If there is significant damage or assault on staff or other young people then reports are made to police,” the statement reads.

“The department does not instruct youth workers in residential care providers not to report breach of bail.”

Townsville is in the midst of a youth crime crisis, with the regional city recording more than 3,000 break-ins over the past year, many of those committed by children.

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I’m a Pediatrician Who Cares for Transgender Kids – Here’s What You Need To Know About Social Support, Puberty Blockers and Other Medical Options That Improve Lives of Transgender Youth


By Mandy Coles, Boston University

When Charlie, a 10-year-old boy, came in for his first visit, he didn’t look at me or my colleague. Angry and crying, he insisted to us that he was cisgender – that he was a boy and had been born male.

A few months before Charlie came into our office, he handed a note to his mother with four simple words, “I am a boy.” Up until that point Charlie had been living in the world as female – the sex he was assigned at birth – though that was not how he felt inside. Charlie was suffering from severe gender dysphoria – a sense of distress someone feels when their gender identity doesn’t match up with their assigned gender.

I am a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist who has been caring for transgender youth for over a decade using what is called a gender-affirmative approach. In this type of care, medical and mental health providers work side by side to provide education to the patient and family, guide people to social support, address mental health issues and discuss medical interventions.

Getting on the same page

The first thing our team does is make sure our patients and families understand what gender care is. We always begin initial visits in the same way. “Our goal is to support you and your family on this journey, whatever that may look like for you. My name is Mandy and I am one of the doctors at CATCH – the Child and Adolescent Trans/Gender Center for Health program. I use she/her pronouns.” Sharing pronouns helps transgender people feel seen and validated.

We then ask patients and families to share their gender journey so we can better understand where they are coming from and where they hope to go. Charlie’s story is one we often hear. A kid may not think much about gender until puberty but begins to experience worsening gender dysphoria when their body starts changing in what feels like the wrong way.

A young transgender woman hugging her mother.
Support and acceptance from family has a huge impact on a transgender person’s mental health.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Social transitions with family help

Transgender and gender-diverse youth (those whose gender identity doesn’t conform to the norms expected of their assigned sex) may face transphobia and discrimination, and experience alarmingly higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide than their cisgender peers. One option can be to socially transition to their identified gender, both at home and in the outside world.

An important first step is to help parents become allies and advocates. Connecting parents with one-to-one as well as group support can help facilitate education and acceptance, while helping families process their own experience. Charlie’s parents had been attending a local parent group that helped them better understand gender dysphoria.

In addition to being accepted at home, young people often want to live in the world in their identified gender. This could include changing their name and pronouns and coming out to friends and family. It can also include using public spaces like schools and bathrooms, participating on single-gender sports teams and dressing or doing other things like binding breasts or tucking back male genitalia to present more in line with their gender identity. Though more research needs to be done, studies show that youth who socially transition have rates of depression similar to cisgender peers.

Many young people find that making a social transition can be an important step in affirming identity. For those that still struggle with depression, anxiety and managing societal transphobia, seeing a therapist who has knowledge of and experience with gender-diverse identities and gender dysphoria can also be helpful.

However, most young people also need to make physical changes to their bodies as well to feel truly comfortable.

A teenage transgender boy with his mother speaking with a doctor.
Medical options for transgender youth can include hormone blockers or hormone therapy as a first step.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Gender-affirming medical interventions

When I first met Charlie, he had already socially transitioned but was still experiencing dysphoria. Charlie, like many people, wanted his physical body to match his gender identity, and this can be achieved only through medical interventions – namely, puberty blockers, hormonal medications or surgery.

For patients like Charlie who have started experiencing early female or male puberty, hormone blockers are typically the first option. These medications work like a pause button on the physical changes caused by puberty. They are well studied, safe and completely reversible. If a person stops taking hormone blockers, their body will resume going through puberty as it would have. Blockers give people time to further explore gender and to develop social supports. Studies demonstrate that hormone blockers reduce depression, anxiety and risk of suicide among transgender youth.

Once a person has started or completed puberty, taking prescribed hormones can help people match their bodies with their gender identities. One of my patients, Zoe, is an 18-year-old transgender woman who has already completed male puberty. She is taking estrogen and a medication to block the effects of testosterone. Together, these will help Zoe’s body develop breasts, reduce hair growth and have an overall more female shape.

Leo, another one of my patients, is a 16-year-old transgender man who is using testosterone. Testosterone will deepen Leo’s voice, help him grow facial hair and lead to a more male body shape. In addition to testosterone, transgender men can use an additional short-term medication to stop menstruation. For nonbinary people like my 15-year-old patient Ty, who is not exclusively masculine or feminine, my colleagues and I personalize their treatments to meet their specific need.

The health risks from taking hormones are incredibly small – not significantly different, in fact, than the risks a cisgender person faces from the hormones in their body. Some prescribed hormone effects are partially reversible, but others are more permanent, like voice deepening and growth of facial hair or breasts. Hormones can also impact fertility, so I always make sure that my patients and their families understand the process thoroughly.

The most permanent medical options available are gender-affirming surgeries. These operations can include changes to genitals, chest or breasts and facial structure. Surgeries are not easily reversible, so my colleagues and I always make sure that patients fully understand this decision. Some people think gender-affirming surgeries go too far and that minors are too young to make such a big decision. But based on available research and my own experience, patients who get these surgeries experience improvements in their quality of life through a reduction in dysphoria. I have been told by patients that gender-affirming surgery “literally saved my life. I was free [from dysphoria].”

[Get our best science, health and technology stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s science newsletter.]

Ongoing gender care

In March 2021, nearly five years after our first visit, Charlie walked into my exam room. When we first met, he was struggling with his gender, anxiety and depression. This time, he immediately started talking about playing hockey, hanging out with friends and making the honor roll. He has been on hormone blockers for five years and testosterone for almost a year. With the help of a supportive family and a gender-competent therapist, Charlie is now thriving.

Being transgender is not something that goes away. It is something my patients live with for their entire lives. Our multidisciplinary care team continues to see patients like Charlie on a regular basis, often following them into young adulthood.

While more research is always needed, a gender-affirmative approach and evidence-based medicine allows young transgender people to live in the world as their authentic selves. This improves quality of life and saves lives, as one of our transgender patients said about his experience receiving gender-affirming care. “I honestly don’t think I would be here had I not been allowed to transition at that point. I’m not always 100%. But I have hope. I am happy to see tomorrow and I know I will achieve my dreams.”The Conversation

Mandy Coles, Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics and co-director of the Child and Adolescent Trans/Gender Center for Health, Boston University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Boys to the Bush mentoring program makes a difference for disadvantaged youth


Matthew Evans says if the blokes from Boys to the Bush hadn’t knocked on his door two years ago, he probably wouldn’t be alive today.

Matthew grew up in Bathurst with his five brothers. When he was eight, they were taken from school and split up into foster care.

Over the next decade, he lived in five different foster homes and eventually ended up at a group home.

After leaving the group home at 18 years old, Matthew says his mental health was at its lowest.

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” he said. 

“I was living by myself in Orange and I was really depressed. After a few months, I attempted suicide.”

At the time, Matthew’s younger brother was participating in the Boys to the Bush program and word got back to one of the co-founders, Adam Demamiel, that Matthew wasn’t leaving the house. So he went over to visit.

“First meeting, I told him [Adam] to buzz off but they just kept coming,” Matthew said.

“At first it was annoying because I’m not the kind of person who wanted help. After a while, I saw them as mates and that’s what made it easier.”

Now at 22 years old, Matthew is employed full time as a trainee program coordinator and mentor with Boys to the Bush.

He says the program has had a huge impact on his life from helping him get his licence, finding a place to live, stabilising his mental health, to making new friends. 

“I had never heard of this program before. I wish I had it when I was a little bit younger,” he said. 

“It’s what struggling kids need, having adults who are not acting like teachers but are like your mates.”

Boys to the Bush is a not-for-profit charity that was set up four years ago by three former school teachers in Southern NSW. 

The program is based in Albury, NSW, with services now running in Wagga Wagga, Forbes, Parkes, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo.

Over the past four years, more than 1,000 kids have accessed the program with a 70 per cent return rate.

The program primarily runs camping trips during school holidays for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In 2020, the pandemic put the camps on hold but that led to the acceleration of a formalised mentoring program.

“We were given a bit of advice to ‘put the tools down’ and ride this COVID thing out,” co-founder and chief executive Adam Demamiel said.

“But home isn’t great for a lot of the kids, so we sort of went against that advice and thought what could we do to see more of them?

“It started with checking in with regular Zoom meetings and then doing one-on-one activities.”

Adam says the mentoring is now the organisation’s core business and it is making a real impact. 

“We still do the camps but the mentoring program is where we are really having systemic changes with the kids,” he said.

The organisation has eight full-time staff in different locations working as mentors, including Matthew.

Mentors will regularly check in with the kids and plan activities based on their interests.

“If they are looking for work, then we help them find work or if they are younger then we teach them how to connect with the community,” Matthew said.

“Some of the kids, they are really interested in building, so I take them to the Men’s Shed to learn from the fellas on how to build stuff.”

Adam says the community involvement and donations of money and time keeps the program running.

“We lean on our links in the community — from tradies, business owners, farmers, rotary groups, CWA groups,” he said. 

The program sees close to 50 kids a week regularly accessing mentoring. 

Adam says providing consistency for the kids is the most important thing.

Sixty per cent of the participants identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, 85 per cent come from Out of Home Care Living Arrangements and 90 per cent do not have a male adult living with them.

“We have set up the business to be self-sustainable,” he said. 

“We don’t want to be another program that when the funding runs out so does the program.

“The majority of the kids that we work with don’t have a connection to much.

“They don’t play any team sports, school is not high on their agenda, and their attendance isn’t great.

“So for many of the kids that we engage with, this is their thing that they connect to.”

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Man injured in car crashSix-year-old Perth girl a skating prodigyTwo men hospitalised after car crashShop owner punched in break-inQueensland outlines budget wish-listPolice issue warning against youth knife crimeAccused ISIS recruiter arrested at Melbourne airportWoman charged over Sydney axe attackFrydenberg previews federal budgetWoman charged after axe attack in Sydney's south-westAccused ISIS supporter back in Australia facing terrorism offencesFederal Budget 2021: Treasurer defends trillion-dollar debt as new expenditure revealedAt least 30 killed in explosion near Afghan high schoolWave washes man on jet ski into rocks



Man injured in car crashSix-year-old Perth girl a skating prodigyTwo men hospitalised after car crashShop owner punched in break-inQueensland outlines budget wish-listPolice issue warning against youth knife crimeAccused ISIS recruiter arrested at Melbourne airportWoman charged over Sydney axe attackFrydenberg previews federal budgetWoman charged after axe attack in Sydney's south-westAccused ISIS supporter back in Australia facing terrorism offencesFederal Budget 2021: Treasurer defends trillion-dollar debt as new expenditure revealedAt least 30 killed in explosion near Afghan high schoolWave washes man on jet ski into rocks

Thanks for stopping by and checking out this news release on “News in the City of Sydney named “Man injured in car crashSix-year-old Perth girl a skating prodigyTwo men hospitalised after car crashShop owner punched in break-inQueensland outlines budget wish-listPolice issue warning against youth knife crimeAccused ISIS recruiter arrested at Melbourne airportWoman charged over Sydney axe attackFrydenberg previews federal budgetWoman charged after axe attack in Sydney's south-westAccused ISIS supporter back in Australia facing terrorism offencesFederal Budget 2021: Treasurer defends trillion-dollar debt as new expenditure revealedAt least 30 killed in explosion near Afghan high schoolWave washes man on jet ski into rocks”. This news release was presented by My Local Pages as part of our Australian events & what’s on stories services.

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Youth bail laws strengthened – Alice Springs News


LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Today’s Youth Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 will strengthen bail laws, expand prescribed offences and give more powers to police through electric monitoring.

Family Responsibility Agreements will be court ordered and will make sure families are accountable and provide a home environment that does not contribute to youth offending.

Judges will be able to order families of troubled youths to participate in family group conferencing and counselling, education or training, housing management and financial counselling or on-country programs.

If a young person commits a serious breach of bail it will be revoked and they will be taken into remand. A serious breach of bail will include re-offending while on bail, breaching certain electronic monitoring conditions and curfew, failure to attend court, and failing to complete youth diversion.

No presumption of bail will be given to offences such as unlawful entry, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, assault of a worker, assault of police and other serious offences.

Judges will have information on breaches of bail.

Young people behind the wheel of a car can be breath tested the same as adults when driving. Amendments will remove the requirement of a responsible adult being present for a breath-test to occur.

If a young offender fails to complete their diversion, they will have to go back before the courts and have their case reconsidered.

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Nicole Manison.

PHOTO Labor Party.

 

UPDATE 1.20pm

An alliance known as the Justice Reform Initiative has written an open letter to the Chief Minister and Opposition Leader saying the policies are misguided and will only increase the level of incarceration and crime: “The experience of incarceration, even for very short periods including on remand increases the likelihood of further offending,” the letter says.

The alliance includes Pat Anderson AO, human rights advocate; Richard Coates, former magistrate; Ted Egan AO, singer songwriter and former Administrator of the Northern Territory; Olga Havnen, Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin; Tom Pauling AO QC, former magistrate, Solicitor-General and NT Administrator; and Robert Tickner AO, former Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister.

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Protesters set to call for inquiry into ‘regressive’ proposed Northern Territory youth bail reforms



A protest against proposed reforms aimed at reducing youth crime in the Northern Territory is set to take place on Wednesday, as community leaders express grave concern over their detrimental impact on Indigenous youth.

Protesters are calling for an inquiry into the Northern Territory government’s proposed youth bail reforms that they say are “regressive” and will disproportionately affect Indigenous youth.

A protest is set to take place in Darwin on Wednesday, with the proposed changes – aimed at reducing youth crime – expected to be introduced to parliament this week. 

It comes as Indigenous community leaders and members of the Northern Territory Labor Party have written to Chief Minister Micheal Gunner urging their own government to reconsider its approach. 

The government has proposed making changes to the Bail Act and Youth Justice Act to “cut crime, keep the community safe and put victims first”.

“If you commit a serious breach of bail, bail will be revoked,” Mr Gunner said in March. 

“Bail is a privilege, not a right. Territorians are trusting you on bail and you must do the right thing while you’re on bail.”

The revocation of bail would be implemented for serious breaches, such as breach of certain electronic monitoring conditions and curfew, failure to attend court, reoffending while on bail, and failure to complete youth diversion.

Police would also have more circumstances where they would be able to immediately electronically monitor a young person who is alleged to have committed a crime.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner talks to reporters at a press conference in Darwin, Tuesday, August 18, 2020.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner talks to reporters at a press conference in Darwin.
AAP

Thomas Mayor, Chairperson of the Indigenous Labor Network, told SBS News its members have urged their own government to abandon the reforms, fearing such a hard-line approach will only perpetuate racism against Indigenous youth.  

Mr Mayor said the reforms are “regressive” and would “take us backwards” from recommendations made by the Royal Commmission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, which was tabled in November 2017. 

“We already know that these tough-on-crime measures don’t work and never have here in the Territory. They completely ignore the effect of so many years of racism, colonialism and failed policy,” he said. 

‘The opposite of care’

A letter from the Indigenous Labor Network to the government, as reported by the ABC, expresses concern its plan both contradicts the royal commission recommendations and its draft Aboriginal Justice Agreement aimed at reducing reoffending and the imprisonment rate of Indigenous Territorians. 

“We also urge that the government ceases tough on crime rhetoric that misrepresents the situation for Aboriginal children, contributing to racist community attitudes towards them,” it states. 

Mr Mayor said the reforms would have a devastating impact on Indigenous youth in the Territory and would increase incarceration rates. 

“These policies will jut increase the amount of young Indigenous people who are incarcerated and while they are on remand, they will not have any access to the services that they will need to heal and recover,” he said.

“So all that this does is entrench the cycle of social dysfunction and criminality.

“This is the opposite of care.”

According to a February report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the number of young people held in youth detention on an average night fell from 922 to 798 between 2016 and 2020.

However, over the same period, the Northern Territory maintained the country’s highest rate of people aged 10-17 in detention on an average night.

As part of last year’s Closing the Gap refresh, Australian governments set a target of reducing the rate of Indigenous children in detention by 30 per cent by 2031.

The reforms have been widely condemned by human rights organisations along with Indigenous youth justice, legal and advocacy groups, despite being supported by the NT Police and the police union.

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency said the government’s changes will disproportionately affect Indigenous kids, who are 17 times more likely to be incarcerated on an average night, according to the AIHW report.

Protest organiser and community advocate Mililma May agreed, saying the proposed reforms are counterintuitive. 

“My ultimate concern is that we will have a generation of institutionalised and traumatised children,” she told SBS News. 

“Reducing bail for kids means less time for loved ones, less time for developing their brains, more times to be outdoors and being nurtured.”

She said that the reforms were developed on the basis of fear, racism, and a factually incorrect narrative.

A spokesperson for the Northern Territory government told SBS News the reforms are necessary in order to make serious, long-term change. 

“The Territory Government believes it is our responsibility to implement policy that invests in breaking the cycle of crime, and also ensures clear consequences for offending,” they said in a statement. 

The spokesperson said the changes that will be introduced to parliament this week are “in line with community expectations”. 

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COUNCIL IS SEEKING A YOUTH WORKER


Youth Worker – Replacement Position
GISC77 – closes 10 May 2021
• Permanent Part-Time (21hrs per week)
• From $594.69 per week (plus Superannuation)
Position specific enquiries may be directed to Tony Williams on (02) 6730 2504
To apply for this position, download the relevant information package, and apply online, through Council’s website: www.gisc.nsw.gov.au
Council is an EEO employer. Women, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, people with a disability, and members of racial, ethnic, and ethno-religious minority groups are encouraged to apply.
Enquiries relating to the application process may be directed to Helen Stapleton, on (02) 6730 2303 or email jobs@gisc.nsw.gov.au
Applicants for the above position need to apply by 5:00pm on the closing date.

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COUNCIL IS SEEKING A YOUTH WORKER “. This post was shared by My Local Pages as part of our Australian events & what’s on stories services.

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Youth housing crisis


National spokesperson for Australia-wide campaign Everybody’s Home, Kate Colvin, cited Geelong and the Bellarine’s rent hikes while calling for urgent investment in social housing.

The figures come after Geelong recorded a net decrease of 82 ‘affordable dwellings’ in 2020, according to state government’s December 2020 quarterly rental report.

Greater Geelong and the Surf Coast have the fourth-lowest and lowest percentages of affordable housing out of all Victorian local government areas on 13.9 and 2.7 respectively, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Barwon Child, Youth and Family (BCYF) has recorded a spike in youth pleas for help.

“Over the past year, our crisis services saw an approximately 60 per cent increase in young people seeking emergency housing support across the region,” BCYF youth services manager Mandy Baxter said.

“Each year approximately 1200 young people seek homelessness support through BCYF.

“On any given night in the region, there are approximately 200 young people on the BCYF waitlist, who are experiencing, or at risk of homelessness.

“They are coming to our youth services team for a number of reasons including housing stress due to loss of income, financial worry and family violence.

“Rental affordability in our region is also out of reach for many of the young people and families we work with.

“However, the single largest factor causing young people to enter the homelessness system is family conflict.”

We hope you enjoyed checking this news article on “What’s On in the City of Greater Geelong titled “Youth housing crisis”. This article was brought to you by My Local Pages as part of our Australian events & what’s on stories services.

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NEW YOUTH WEEK EVENT!!!


Council advises that as part of the Youth Week 2021 celebrations, there will be a Disco Party at Glen Innes Town Hall on Saturday, 24 April 2021 from 6.00pm until 9.00pm for ages 12 to 24 years. This is a free event and includes music, snacks, games and prizes. This event replaces the proposed Talent Show which has been re-scheduled. Council will advise of the re-scheduled date for the Talent Show when it is confirmed. Please contact Ashley Hansell for more information about the Disco Party on telephone 6730 2530.

DISCO PARTY

 

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NEW YOUTH WEEK EVENT!!! “. This news update was presented by My Local Pages Australia as part of our QLD holiday news services.

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Sweet Justice beekeeping beckons for keen parolees from Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre


Kyneton beekeeper Claire Moore is sweetening the job prospects for young men ending their time in the youth justice system.

Ms Moore was the apiarist behind Sweet Justice, a program kickstarted inside the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre, where young men undergo a 10-week course that teaches them the fundamentals of commercial beekeeping, in the hope of finding them employment on parole.

But she has decided to take the next step and is setting up her own social enterprise, so she can offer these young men full-time employment on release.

“Because they’ve never had any exposure to bees, it can be quite scary … but to watch their progression over 10 weeks, becoming really confident and handling them so competently, for me, is really exciting.

“So I really want to work with them for a year and help build their employment skills and build a CV.”

A woman is wearing a bee suit and watching someone work on building a hive
Apiarist Claire Moore is hoping to roll out this program across the country.(

ABC Rural: Eden Hynninen

)

‘Finding and maintaining a job’

Ms Moore said that everyone understood the difficulties of finding and maintaining a job, but for these young men, there were added challenges.

“So I want to help them make it hopefully an easier transition.”

The program is going to be based in Bendigo so workers have access to services like housing and public transport.

“We want it to be a regional experience and an option for people that don’t necessarily want to work in Melbourne,” she said.

“They’ll be working with us, and working hives, producing honey, beauty products and actually selling the honey at farmers markets and making sure it’s onto shop shelves and retail outlets.

Rejuvenating the workforce

She said it was not only beneficial to these young men, but also to an aging beekeeping industry.

“At the moment, the average age of a beekeeper in Australia is 65 and we don’t have a lot of young blood in the industry, so I’m hoping the young people trained at Malmsbury will be part of the next generation of commercial beekeepers,” she said.

“We need more young beekeepers, we need more people who want to take up the job, it’s important for Australia’s food security.”

close up of hundreds of bees working in a hive
A similar program in the United States saw reoffending rates dramatically decline.(

ABC Rural: Eden Hynninen

)

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice and Community Safety said the young men inside Malmsbury looked forward to Ms Moore’s weekly classes.

“Participants are provided with a lifelong mentor in beekeeping through Claire, and learn an in-demand skill that they can take with them into their lives beyond custody,” a DJCS spokesperson said.

“We know that to genuinely help young people to turn their lives around they need training and activities that will help them build a pathway to a career.

Mr Moore said she has been surprised at just how quickly the young men have picked up the skills.

“It’s genuinely surprised me, the boys in my program are so bright, genuinely bright, but just in a different way,” she said.

“School for them may not have worked out in a traditional sense, but in beekeeping, they can very quickly hit a Certificate III level of understanding if I use alternative teaching methods, and that fascinates me.

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