Albany’s Gorenang Moortabiin to lead culture focused early intervention program for at-risk youth

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Albany Police Acting Sgt Stuart Rogers, Department of Communities principal project officer Target 120 Danielle Jones, Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens, Community Services Minister Simone McGurk and Gorenang Moortabiin chair Ezzard Flowers.
Camera IconAlbany Police Acting Sgt Stuart Rogers, Department of Communities principal project officer Target 120 Danielle Jones, Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens, Community Services Minister Simone McGurk and Gorenang Moortabiin chair Ezzard Flowers. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

An early intervention program aiming to keep at-risk youth out of the justice system will continue with culture at its core under the guidance of a new Albany-based Aboriginal corporation.

Gorenang Moortabiin Aboriginal Engagement & Community Development was awarded a $587,000 State Government grant to run the Target 120 intervention program in Albany on Friday.

The program — previously run through the Department of Communities — is designed to help children aged 10-14 and their families connect with community services to reduce the rates of youth reoffending.

Gorenang Moortabiin will lead the program until June 30, 2023.

Target 120 has been rolled out in 11 locations across WA, with 54 participants, of which half have not had further contact with police since joining the program.

It has helped seven young people and their families in Albany since it started in July.

Gorenang Moortabiin will deliver a culturally informed service to address the over-representation of young Aboriginal people among those in contact with the youth justice system.

Chair Ezzard Flowers said the organisation was focused on bringing families and services together to create the best future for young people.

The new organisation is set to hire two youth workers and a family support worker to help deliver the pilot program.

Mr Flowers said the programs would be delivered on country with youths and families, with community service partners and Aboriginal corporations.

“Through the cultural grapevine everybody is wanting and yearning for something like this to happen within their communities and for it to be extended regionally,” he said.

“This is the first pilot project for our region in the Great Southern and we are only focused on the Albany region at the moment but I suppose with a lot of collaborative input and partnership throughout the region we could extend it later on.”

Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said the issues targeted by the program were different in each community so partnerships with local organisations were essential to its success.

“Target 120 is a practical program helping young offenders at risk of further interactions with the justice system to create an alternative path for themselves, and has had encouraging results in its first few years,” she said.

“By prioritising early intervention over enforcement measures, we know this program can improve outcomes — not only for the children and families participating, but for the communities they live in too.”

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