The Bail Assistance Line was established to assist police considering conditional bail for juveniles.
By funding NGOs to provide accommodation and other support services, the Bail Assistance Line seeks to divert young people away from remand in cases of family crisis and chronic homelessness. In the absence of stable home care, NGO specialists can provide accommodation, transport, case management, court assistance, and modest support to purchase clothes and necessities.
A trial began in Dubbo in June 2010. Since then, the program has expanded to service the Newcastle/Hunter region, as well as a large area of western and south-western Sydney (including Penrith, Fairfield, Parramatta, Macquarie Fields, and Mt Druitt).
Three NGOs provide placement services for clients: CatholicCare operates a house in the community, while Link-Up and Life Without Barriers work within a foster care model. CatholicCare and Link-Up accept referrals from metropolitan Sydney, while Life Without Barriers provides services in Dubbo and Newcastle/Hunter.
The Bail Assistance Line has rolled out its service to all pilot areas and developed positive and productive working relationships with partner agencies NSW Police Force and Department of Family and Community Services.
More information is available on the Juvenile Justice NSW website.