Building a Support System to Prevent Juvenile Delinquency Ilona Kronberga, Director of the Project Madonas novada dome Saldus novada dome Cēsu novada dome Starptautiskais bērnu tiesību institūts (Siona, Šveice)
In recent years, our National child crime prevention policy was changed – wider society understands, that the harsh penalties and prison sentences is not right way to solve the problems of child crime. Therefore we pay our attention to find new approaches - to detect and prevent more early child behavior problems, by ensuring that they will never come in contact with prison.
to reduce risks of exclusion for children with deviations in social behaviour and to create a safe environment for a successful development for them.
The target group includes 240 children and young people of social risk groups and 9 senior persons. The project is running in three regions of Latvia: Madona, Saldus and C ē sis in cooperation with local municipalities, and project partners from Switzerland.
to establish a Model of Inter-institutional Cooperation in each of the municipalities, including Regional working groups which will perform the process of selection of children and young people, and organise for them useful and healthy recreational activities: sports, tourism events, art activities, basic education about principles of business and military service.
A number of state and municipal institutions in Latvia are engaged with juveniles, who have become offenders, or who are at risk of becoming offenders. These institutions – the police (State and Municipal), prosecutors, courts, detention centres, probations services, NGO`s and local governments – do not work in a coordinated manner. Each institution has its own narrow focus, but is poorly informed about other institutions’ work and role in juvenile justice.
These institutions often have different interpretations of the application of children’s rights to juvenile offenders, and they often give only superficial attention to ensuring respect for these rights. The lack of a systemic approach (lack of Interinstitutional cooperation model) and the lack of knowledge about the goals of juvenile justice severely hampers effective work with juvenile offenders, often resulting in avoidable recidivism.
I n three regions Inter Institutional Cooperation models w ere created ;
Project assistants and coordinators in regions regularly h o ld Territorial working group meetings;
There have been 120 children involved in the first eight months in the project based activities;
For every minor who will be probably included in the Project activities Territorial working groups carry out risk and need assessment.
1) Inter Institutional Cooperation models in three regions
In January and February we started a project with three introductory seminars ;
Despite that, experts from the regions were involved in the preparing stage of the project, it was very important to gather people and explain to them the desired course of the project, the principles of working with children ;
When you start a new Project , colleagues support is very important .
How Inter Institutional Cooperation models in three regions Cēsis , Madona and Saldus were started
2) Territorial working group meetings are regularly held
Territorial Working Group tasks are:
To create on common principles-based model for Inter Institutional Cooperation among local institution which are engaged with minors who have behavior problems ;
To organize in each municipality for children with behavioral problems: (a) selection , to include them in project activities (2x8 month for 2x40 minors); (b) risk-needs assessments to involve them in activities which they need .
3) How does youth engage in project activities
The first signs that a child has problems Territorial Working Group receives from the schools, social services, probation, police or the court / prosecutor .
A child with his/her parents are invited to the Territorial Working Group, discussions are ongoing to decide on actions that would improve the behavior of .
Risks are assessed and, if necessary, drawn up in an individual child's behavior plan . A t this moment child and his/her parents are suggested to engage in project activities (a according to the Catalog of a Project Activities ).