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Oberstown Children Detention Campus launches new three-year strategy with care and participation of young people at its core

Thursday December 14: Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone T.D. today launched a new three-year strategy for Oberstown Children Detention Campus. The strategy sets the course for youth detention in Ireland until 2020 through five priority areas:

1. Providing the best possible care for young people.

2. Developing the Oberstown team and organisation.

3. Implementing policies, procedures and standards consistent with the best model of detention for young people.

4. Enhanced communications aligned to Oberstown values and mission.

5. Delivering robust governance at all levels and driving effective accountability.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone T.D., welcomed the publication of the Oberstown Strategic Plan which will provide a road map for Oberstown in its work. The Minister noted that the Plan will “be further complemented by the implementation of the recommendations which have been made in the various review reports”.

Minister Zappone thanked the Chair, Professor Ursula Kilkelly, the members of the Board of Management and the staff of Oberstown for their “work and commitment to improving the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people” in our community. The Minister noted that their “work is critical to helping our young people to make positive lifestyle choices and to realise their maximum potential now and in the future. I wish to commend you for your work in addressing the challenges which you face on a daily basis in achieving your goals”.

Chair of the Board, Professor Ursula Kilkelly described Oberstown’s strategic priorities as entirely informed by how best to protect the rights of young people referred to Oberstown by the Courts, with a focus on moving young people away from offending behaviour.

A unique facet of the strategy will be the roll out of an innovative programme for youth participation in decision-making, through a new Campus Council and improved structures that ensure the views of young people are taken into account at all levels.

These structures will provide a safe space where young people can actively express their views on issues that affect them, giving them the chance to influence and hear back from key decision-makers in areas of importance, chosen by them.

Chair of the Oberstown Board, Professor Ursula Kilkelly, said:

“Oberstown provides safe, secure care and education to young people and is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of young people in all aspects of the Campus. We are optimistic that this Strategy will take us further in ensuring the full implementation of all aspects of a rights-respecting Campus in line with international standards.”

“The Oberstown Strategy will continue to develop our people, our processes and our capability to meet the best international standards in the delivery of this care.”

Staff training and development are key to the strategy. The importance of continuing partnerships such as that with Le Chéile – mentoring families of young people placed in Oberstown – are re-emphasised. From January 2018, the Oberstown bespoke system of care CEHOP, will be used as the structure for delivery of care across the Campus.

Oberstown has committed to further investment in research citing the key characteristics report, published earlier this year, as a blueprint.

Today’s launch marks another milestone in Irish youth detention after Oberstown marked one year in June since the single Campus was established, bringing together three children detention schools – Trinity House, Oberstown Boys’ School and Oberstown Girls’ School. In the past year, significant improvements have been made on buildings and facilities on the campus as well as training and supports for staff and the Strategy will build on this progress.


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Note to Editors:

• High-res pictures of the 2017 campus can be downloaded here

CEHOP infographic

Key characteristics infographic

Language guide

1. Oberstown

Oberstown Children Detention Campus provides a safe and secure environment for children who are

placed in the campus by a court. The objective of Oberstown is to provide children in the campus

with education and development to address and change offending behaviour, so that they can return

and contribute positively to their families and communities. In June 2016, a single Oberstown campus was established, bringing together three children detention schools – Trinity House, Oberstown Boys’ School and Oberstown Girls’ School.


Oberstown helps young people to address their offending behaviour though a programme centred on their care, education and health needs. This programme is CEHOP, a bespoke Oberstown designed and delivered programme. Upon arrival, each young person is assessed and an individual care plan is developed by a multidisciplinary team. This produces a bespoke journey through care plan for each young person. This is achieved through a unique care model, developed by Oberstown, in which relationship building is key addressing core areas of care, education, health, offending behaviours and preparation for return to family and communities.

3. Strategic process – developing the strategy

In January 2017, the Board of Management adopted a holding strategy for the Campus and agreed a short-term Action Plan that has provided the framework for this work and the Campus development generally.

In early Summer 2017, consultation with staff and management – in workshops and ‘one to one’ discussions – took place to support the development of a three-year Strategic Plan for Oberstown.