Indigenous offenders missing school, Cappo claims

The head of South Australia's Social Inclusion Unit, Adelaide Vicar General Msgr David Cappo, is questioning the government over an alleged failure to respond to the fact that many young Aboriginal offenders are only attending school for a few days a year, if at all.

ABC News reports that Msgr Cappo is investigating chronic youth crime, focusing on a group of about 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous repeat offenders.

He says children as young as eight are becoming involved in criminal activity.

"What I want to be talking to the Education Department about is what's their position on this, where are they going with this?" he said.

"Have they been in contact with these kids and these families? Are they following it up?

"Are they asking, 'Why aren't these kids at school'?"

Msgr Cappo says chronic youth offending should not be hard to deal with.

He says there should be dedicated case managers working with the young offenders.

"Not stand back and keep referring people on to whatever group can take the problem over, but someone who says, 'I will cut across all the government departments, I will go through different systems and I've got the authority to do it'," he said.

Msgr Cappo also says more resources need to be provided to the grandparents of Indigenous offenders.

He says he has been meeting grandmothers in Adelaide's Indigenous community, many of whom have become primary carers for their grandchildren.

"I am very, very impressed with the grannies group and I would hope that we can eventually, in some of the recommendations we'll make, is put some resources around them," he said.

Youth crime investigator says offenders skipping school (ABC News, 29/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Social Inclusion Board

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30 Mar 2007