Reductions in juvenile offending, youth drug abuse and other problems affecting teenagers are the targets of a new $14 million community-based youth program.
Tens of thousands of young Western Australians with problems likely to end in conflict with the law or other troubles, are being targeted.
The program, announced today, marks a major new direction and funding boost in early intervention and prevention of youth problems.
Extra funding of nearly $1 million is being distributed - a total of $3 million over three years - to 32 local community groups across the State, including new services in Rockingham, Norseman and Roebourne.
These community groups will provide sporting activities, skills development programs, drop-in centres, streetwork programs, and stronger links with employment, training or education options and drug treatment agencies.
The Department for Community Development (DCD) program aims to prevent future social problems by involving young people in a broad range of community-based activities, including employment, training and education options.
The plan would incorporate a number of existing initiatives, including the 12 existing local offending prevention programs which had, in past years, already achieved up to 30 per cent reductions in Children's Court appearances, particularly in northern areas of the State.
Family and Community Development Minister Eric Ripper today gave details of new Youth and Community Program while visiting the North East Aboriginal Development (NEAD) youth basketball project, developed by parents and funded by the DCD in Midland.
"Kids are not born bad - it is often their circumstances or environment which lead to trouble," the Minister said.
"Early intervention aims to identify potential problems and overcome them before they become a major social and financial cost to the State."
Mr Ripper said the projects would help disadvantaged young people constructively participate in their community, prevent or remedy family conflict and link troubled children to appropriate services.
Groups to receive increased funding this year under the new program included the Perth TQ Car Club, Rockingham, the Wanneroo Youth Activities Centre, the Whitford Youth Information Centre, the South-East Regional Youth Council, Armadale, and the Girrawheen Automotive Skills Development Program.
Country services to receive extra funding included the Moora Youth Group, Geraldton Streetwork Program, Paraburdoo/Tom Price Youth Association, Laverton Youth Service, and the Albany Youth Support Association.