Governance

YAC (Youth Advocacy Centre Inc) is an incorporated association under Queensland’s Associations Incorporation Act 1981 with responsibilities under the Act. It also has a constitution, or set of rules which are legally binding, for the running of the organisation (contact us for a copy of the Constitution). YAC’s Management Committee has overall responsibility for the organisation and is elected annually. Details of the Committee are at the end of this page.

Our Annual Reports tell the ‘story’ of  YAC’s work with young people: what we do and why we do it

YAC 2013/14 Annual Report           YAC 2014/15 Annual Report            YAC Annual Report 2015/16

 

YAC’s Vision, Mission Statement, Philosophy and Aims and Objectives (which are included in the Annual Reports) are set out below.

VISION

Young people achieve their full potential through the community accepting collective responsibility for their importance, empowerment, rights, well-being and humanity.

MISSION

To increase young people’s access to legal and social justice by speaking out with and for young people.

 

ORGANISATIONAL PRINCIPLES

With respect to service delivery

Children and young people are a vulnerable group requiring special consideration. They are in a process of development, physically and mentally, and this process is significantly affected by the adults around them. As a result, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory, reinforces that children are entitled to all the fundamental rights and freedoms that adults have but additionally that they require specific protections.

YAC is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child in any dealings with a young person, in particular:

  • The right of young people to be treated equally irrespective of “colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status”
  • The right of a young person to have an opinion and to be heard in all matters affecting the young person
  • Consideration of the best interests of the young person to include consideration of the views of the young person.

A young person has the right to an advocate to rebut any allegations made and/or to put forward their views in any matter which affects them, irrespective of whether they are alleged or found to have transgressed the legal or other systems in some way or they are the victim of a specific act, situation or a systemic problem.

The best interests of a young person can only be ensured if justice is not only done but, more importantly, that the young person perceives that
justice has been done. To that end it is acknowledged that:

  • young people’s interaction with the legal and administrative systems and processes is frequently the result of their life circumstances and experiences (such as their family environment or homelessness, disengagement from education) as well as other personal issues (such as drug and alcohol use, mental health and behavioural problems associated with ADD, ADHD or similar): as such, the best way to address these issues is to work with the young person, listening to, and advocating for, their perspective.
  • a young person has the right to an advocate to rebut any allegations made and/or to put forward their views in any matter which affects them, irrespective of whether they are alleged or found to have transgressed the legal or other systems in some way or they are the victim of a specific act, situation or a systemic problem.
  • in accordance with Australian law, if a young person is considered to be “Gillick competent” in relation to the presenting issues, the young person is entitled to have an advocate act on their instructions and to confidentiality from their advocate.

YAC seeks to provide an holistic response to the issues a young person is facing and, where appropriate, takes a multidisciplinary approach  with YAC legal and social welfare staff working collaboratively to assist with the diverse needs of the young person.

With respect to its staff

YAC recognises all staff as equal members of the team and collectively responsible for upholding YAC’s philosophy and mission.

The views and opinions of all staff in relation to matters which affect them individually or as part of the broader organisation are valued equally and have an important role in decision-making processes.

OBJECTIVES and STRATEGIES

1.       To support and advocate for the legal needs and rights of disadvantaged and/or vulnerable young people in the legal system

YAC does this by:

providing appropriate, effective, timely and accessible –

  • legal advice and referral to young people in the youth justice and the child protection systems and such other areas of law that can be accommodated.
  • legal advocacy for young people in the youth justice system, the child protection system and other such areas of law that can be accommodated, in courts, tribunals or hearings.

2.       To support and advocate for disadvantaged and/or vulnerable young people involved in, or at risk of involvement in, legal systems or other processes in relation to their social welfare needs

YAC does this by:

  • providing support and advocacy for young people especially those who are homeless or who are disadvantaged or disempowered in their contact with, or access to, a range of systems such housing, income support and education
  • providing information and practical and emotional support to young people who are attending meetings/discussions in relation to their matters or appearing in courts, tribunals or hearings as victims, witnesses, applicants or offenders
  • providing bail accommodation and support  for young people who would otherwise be placed in detention on remand
  • providing support and family intervention services to young people and their families where appropriate, such as situations of family crisis and relationship breakdown.

3.       To enable young people, families and workers with young people to better understand the law and the legal system as it is relevant to them

YAC does this by:

  • providing legal and life skills information and education to young people
  • providing legal information, education and training to those working with or supporting young people.

4.       To support the development of socio-legal system which is more responsive and appropriate to the needs of young people and which takes account of their developmental and situational issues and Australia’s international obligations

YAC does this by:

  • maintaining a current understanding of youth legal, social welfare and developmental issues
  • raising government and community awareness of the problems facing young people, particularly those at risk, and the (potential) impacts on young people of laws and legal and social welfare systems, processes and reforms
  • seeking greater understanding of international human rights standards relevant to children and young people.

5.       To provide and maintain the high quality support and advocacy services to young people

YAC does this by:

  • ensuring quality of service provision, in collaboration with other agencies where appropriate, to meet client needs
  • ensuring a positive, communicated and shared strategic direction for the organisation
  • securing the financial sustainability of the organisation
  • having highly competent and capable staff who are supported through ongoing professional development and supervision and provision of a safe and healthy work environment.
  • having effective governance, sound financial and administrative systems
  • identifying opportunities to deliver services in innovative ways (especially for rural and regional young people and families).

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

YAC’s Management Committee  is responsible for the overall running of the organisation and meets generally about every 6 weeks. It is made up of members of the community who voluntarily give of their time to take this role: the current Management Committee members are listed below.

Members are elected to the Committee at YAC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is usually held around October. If you are interested in a role on the committee, please Contact us

Management Committee 2016-17

Members Position  Background
Damien Atkinson  Chairperson  Barrister
Kerrie Mattiske  Treasurer  Accountant/Lawyer
Janet Wight  Secretary  YAC Director (Lawyer)
Jan Duffy  Committee Member  Social Worker
 Kirra Faulkner  Committee Member – Staff Representative  YAC Solicitor
Steve Hutchinson  Committee Member  State Manager, national NFP
Terry Hutchinson  Committee Member  Lawyer and Academic
Fiona Meagher  Committee Member  Lawyer
Tarryn McMullen  Committee Member  Fundraiser and business owner
Beth Toon  Committee Member  General Manager (Design Company)