A new youth justice strategy is to be rolled out and the country's main detention centre for young offenders is to hire an additional 25 staff.
Details of the new strategy and the associated Reform and Development Programme for 106 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) located around the country were announced by Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton.
It will begin with a GYDP Action Research Project that will work with 15 GYDPs across 10 counties over a two-year period in order to identify and disseminate best practice in working with young people at risk.
The 15 projects have volunteered to work in a partnership with the Irish Youth Justice Service and a research team from the School of Law in the University of Limerick, with findings due in June next year that will then be used as the basis for researchers and youth professionals to design new, more effective ways of working.
Minister Stanton said: “Too often we get research reports which have useful findings and recommendations but don’t get implemented. The next steps with these research studies will be different. We have a determined collaboration of committed officials and local practitioners ready for change and a team based in the University of Limerick that is producing top-class practical research. I commend the 15 projects stepping forward for this challenge.
"Much like Operation Transformation, you have agreed to put yourselves in the spotlight, to hear things about your practice that you might not want to hear and to dig deep in pursuit of the prize of inspiring young people to positive change.”
It comes as Oberstown Children Detention Campus is seeking to recruit 25 residential social care workers, the first large-scale recruitment campaign since the development of the new Oberstown campus.
Management at the centre said the new recruits would help promote positive outcomes for young people.
Pat Bergin, Oberstown director said: “Young people in the youth justice system often have a history of trauma and can at times display challenging behaviour. That’s why staff in Oberstown who work with young people must be fully qualified residential social care workers with three years’ experience.”