Module 4 Problem solving when there are concerns for a young person living in residential care


This module is produced by the Department of Communities and Justice and outlines how to problem solve and raise an issue locally when the Joint Protocol hasn’t been applied, or there are continuing concerns for a young person living in residential care that can’t be resolved locally. It also covers the Referral Pathway to escalate these issues of concern.

If you have concerns about a young person’s contact with the criminal justice system, and you feel the Joint Protocol has either not been followed, or has not resolved the problem, you can escalate the issue for more support. The key steps are:

  1. Collaborate locally to resolve issues
  2. Escalate unresolved issues
  3. Share and highlight good practice

collaborate locally to resolve issues

When an issue arises all efforts must be made to resolve the matter at the local level. The nature of the concern and who raises it will determine who is to be contacted and in what order.

We recommend:
  • To raise your concerns directly with the NGO service provider’s legal representative.
If the issue cannot be resolved the next point of contact is either:
  • the local Crime Prevention Unit within the local Police Area Command or Police District or the local Legal Aid NSW services to discuss concerns and possible solutions.
If neither legal representation or the local crime prevention unit are unable to assist:
  • contact the local Commissioning and Planning team at the Department of Communities and Justice to escalate your concerns.
  Most issues can be resolved by talking to your local stakeholders, and the Joint Protocol is designed to make sure you always have the right contacts to call on when issues arise.

escalate unresolved issues

When there are concerns that the Joint Protocol has not been followed, there is a process for raising and investigating the issue. A fact sheet on the referral pathway is located in the resources section of this module.

In the first instance:
  • all efforts must be made to resolve issues at the local level between the NGO service provider, the local Commissioning and Planning team, local Police Area Command and the young person’s legal representation.
If a matter has not been resolved and there needs to be strategic intervention it may be referred to the Operational Issues Group using the Referral Pathway.
  • The Operational Issues Group provides a confidential forum to resolve issues and includes DCJ, NSW Police, Legal Aid NSW and the Office of the Children’s Guardian. This group will attempt to understand and resolve the issue, and in the process will contact the local Police and NGO service provider involved.
  • The group also looks at systemic and implementation issues to try and support the overall implementation and effectiveness of the Protocol.
  • Referral to the pathway is aimed at improving practice across all parties involved, and learning from successes and challenges with the implementation of the Joint Protocol.
  To escalate to the Operational Issues Group, email Provide details about the young person, incident or issue details, dates and locations.

share and highlight good practice

The OIG is also interested in good practice and success stories that can be shared with the whole Joint Protocol network. Success stories highlight practices that are working and can often be replicated. They inspire us all towards continuous improvement. Please send any examples of good practice, or good outcomes for young people where the Joint Protocol has been used to:

Further Information

Referral Pathway Fact Sheet for the Joint Protocol