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Intensive Therapeutic Care Program – Guardianship Youth

Yarrow Place's Intensive Therapeutic Care Program – Guardianship Youth supports young people under Guardianship, with a targeted service for those identified as frequently missing from placement and who are at risk of or currently being sexually exploited.

The Intensive Therapeutic Care Program is a partnership with the Department of Child Protection (DCP). The service also contributes to sector development through training and consultation around working with ‘at risk’ young people via a therapeutic care framework.


The current model arose from Recommendation 42 of the ‘Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry 2008’ which identified that there was a need to provide flexible and intensive therapeutic support to young people who abscond and who are at risk of sexual exploitation.

Developed with the support of learning from the Berry Street ‘Take Two’ Program in Victoria, the Intensive Therapeutic Care Program provides flexible, intensive, assertive engagement approaches to working with young people identified as fitting the criteria for the program. The relationships that are built and maintained between the client, case manager, senior clinician and therapeutic care team are recognised as an essential part of the therapeutic process.

Philosophical framework

The Intensive Therapeutic Care Program bases its work on the following frameworks and theories:

  • attachment theory, adolescent development, grief and loss, trauma recovery model and an understanding of the neurobiology of trauma
  • understanding of sexual assault – a ‘Victim’s Rights’ Perspective
  • a flexible, assertive, outreach engagement model that works with young people and their significant others to support therapeutic interventions and environments.

At Yarrow Place we take an assertive engagement approach and seek to:

  • address the stigma attached to young people who are under Guardianship
  • establish and maintain a sense of safety, belonging, connection, respect and privacy
  • build the capacity of the young person to develop positive relationships.

Partnership agencies

Therapeutic Care Teams form the basis on which the Intensive Therapeutic Care Program operates. These teams are made up of significant support agencies and people in the young person’s life, and may include:

The role of the Senior Clinician

The Senior Clinician has four main roles:

  1. to provide intensive therapeutic support to the young person
  2. to assist the therapeutic care team and others to provide intervention that is informed by attachment and trauma theory, grief and loss theory and child/adolescent development knowledge
  3. to address therapeutic gaps in the young person’s network with the view to developing and maintaining attachments that will assist the young person in to the future with a long term view across their life span
  4. to provide training to other relevant services and stakeholders involved with this client group on:
    1. trauma theory
    2. neurobiology of trauma
    3. attachment theory
    4. grief and loss theory
    5. child/adolescent development
    6. responding to disclosures of sexual assault

Eligibility for the Program

The following criteria and consideration apply to eligibility for Yarrow Place's Intensive Therapeutic Care Program:

  • Children aged 12 to 25 (must be under 18 at the time of referral)
  • Current concerns regarding absconding behaviours and risk or experience of sexual exploitation
  • A DCP worker who is willing and able to be partnered in the therapeutic care approach is essential
  • As a standard the young person must be under a DCP Guardianship order until 18 years
  • Referrals can be made directly to the Intensive Therapeutic Care Program Coordinator
  • Priority for allocation will be given to younger clients who are assessed as being at higher risk of harm
  • Priority will be given to young people in Community Residential Care and Emergency Care. Young people in foster care or other stable family-based care at the time of referral will not be considered a priority for allocation unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Legislative framework

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