CSER Guidelines on Garda Youth Diversion Projects Launched

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Michael McDowell, T.D. recently launched Guidelines, compiled by DIT's Centre for Social & Educational Research, on Garda Youth Diversion Projects.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects are one of a number of proposals in the National Development Plan designed to promote social inclusion. They are a multi-agency crime prevention measure within the justice system, involving the Garda Siochana and the Probation and Welfare Service, aimed at young people who, due to social exclusion, are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social and/or criminal activity.

Funded by the Department of Justice, the projects have been developed in partnership with other State agencies providing services and developing capacity in the skills, education, self-improvement and employment areas.

The rapid expansion in project numbers has, however, created quality assurance challenges in relation to the operation and management outcomes of the projects. A set of guidelines was thus required in order to develop a planned and strategic approach

As a result, in 2001 the Department commissioned the Centre for Social and Educational Research (CSER) at the Dublin Institute of Technology to prepare comprehensive guidelines for the establishment, operation, management and administration of the projects.

The purpose of the guidelines is to act as a benchmark against which applications for new projects are to be evaluated on an ongoing basis. According to Minister McDowell T.D.,

'The Guidelines set out best practice in relation to preventative activities and interventions in dealing with marginalized young people and will constitute a practical and helpful reference to An Garda Siochana in their work on the ground'.

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