Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation has launched an Aboriginal-led and developed youth safety program.

The ‘Looking After the Kids: walking alongside young people’ program was developed to build resilience in communities by providing engagement and support for vulnerable young people and their families.

Community respected Aboriginal youth outreach workers will advise and support youth engagement officers as well as mentor young Aboriginal people.

The new program will operate in Alice Springs and Tangentyere.

The NT Government and other agencies are working to integrate the program with services within the Tangentyere Council.

Tangentyere CEO Walter Shaw said the program will strengthen interagency and community relationships by engaging and responding to young people who frequent the streets late in the night.

“The development of ‘Looking After the Kids’ draws on the cultural authority and advice of the Tangentyere Men’s and Women’s Family Safety Groups and Town Camp community members who have provided support, recommendations and guidance to the development of the program,” Mr Shaw said.

“[The program] will support and advise external services such as the Youth Engagement Night Officers (YENOS), Gap Youth and Community Centre … as well as a range of other relevant services.”

The CEO said program workers will promote the program to stakeholders and the community, engaging with individuals, families and communities across Alice Springs to ensure it is culturally appropriate.

“Importantly, ‘Looking After the Kids: walking alongside young people’ program recognises the role of parents, families and their communities in the lives of at-risk young people and will work closely with them to drive long term change for young people and their families,” Mr Shaw said.

Mr Shaw also said the program’s aim is to be embedded into communities in a culturally safe way to create long-term sustainable change for young people and their families.

This new program comes as an element of the NT Government’s ‘Breaking the Cycle of Youth Crime’ plan, which will implement a range of measures to ensure the increased safety of young people in Alice Springs.