Care not Custody – Luke's story

Care not Custody – Luke's story

Luke (not his real name) is one of several siblings. He loves music and drama. His father is not involved in his life. When his mother’s health deteriorated, her children were put into care. When she died shortly afterwards, Luke, aged 12, was devastated and began using alcohol and cannabis to help him cope.

Luke had received cautions and a couple of criminal charges prior to entering care, but once in residential care, the number of charges he received escalated substantially.

One charge arose when Luke was told he couldn’t use the internet because of the offensive language he had used when asking to do so. Luke, then 14, was angry. He threw a cup at the wall and yelled at and threatened the care worker.

About six months later, aged 15, Luke was again charged in relation to his behaviour at the residential unit. He returned to the unit drunk and staff told him he was grounded. Luke was frustrated and threw a plate across the room and overturned a coffee table and stomped on it. Police were called and Luke was again charged with criminal damage.

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Read more information about Care not Custody: a new approach to keeping kids in residential care out of the criminal justice system