Source: (1999) Indigenous Law Bulletin. 4(18): 4-8. Downloaded 16 November 2005.

Youth justice conferencing is administered through the New South Wales Department of Juvenile Justice. This department has created a separate directorate, the Youth Justice Conferencing Directorate, which is responsible for the coordination of the conferencing scheme. The directorate employs conference administrators to manage the implementation of the scheme at the local level. This administrative structure gives rise to the perennial question addressed in this article: how can a scheme designed, legislated and administered from ‘above’ and without meaningful contribution from the communities it is intended to serve, cater to the real needs of Indigenous communities? This paper provides a critique of youth justice conferencing in New South Wales from the perspective of two Indigenous women who have been involved in the scheme on the mid-north coast of the State. We advocate ‘grass-roots’ contribution to policy development and implementation. (excerpt)

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