News & Media

November 2022. Oberstown Children Detention Campus has published its new Strategy 2022-2026, endorsed by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, TD. The Strategy aims to fulfil Oberstown’s vision of providing young people in detention with the highest standards of rights-based, child-centred care that enables them to maximise their potential, to the benefit of their families and communities and society as a whole.

The Strategy sets out 5 Goals and 25 high-level Actions in 5 key areas:

  1. Child-centred, individualised, rights-based care and education
  2. Staff wellbeing and development
  3. Partnership with families, communities and other stakeholders
  4. Transparency and accountability
  5. Sustainable development of the Campus and organisation

Oberstown’s ambition is to be the leading facility of its kind internationally, bringing together the specialist experience and resources to successfully address young people’s offending behaviour and their underlying complex needs. Strengthening the voice and participation of young people, partnering with their families, the community, and external agencies, is central to Oberstown’s collaborative approach.

The new Strategy builds on the progress achieved under Oberstown’s first ever strategic plan, delivered between 2017 and 2021, in the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Strategy 2022-2026 is the result of extensive consultation, including staff and young people and a wide range of external stakeholders, in a process led by the Board of Management, working with the Director, Damien Hernon, and the Senior Management Team.

Among the actions outlined in the Strategy, Oberstown is committed to:

  • Further developing CEHOP®, Oberstown’s bespoke model of individualised care for young people, to include enhanced use of multidisciplinary and trauma-informed approaches.
  • Embedding the Children’s Rights Policy Framework, Oberstown’s policy platform, in line with national and international standards, placing young people at the heart of all we do.
  • Enhancing our approach to staff well-being and development, building a resilient and agile workforce.
  • Creating opportunities for young people moving on from Oberstown through partnerships with relevant stakeholders.
  • Working with external partners and agencies to deliver key actions under the Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027, with a focus on young people transitioning from Oberstown.
  • Advancing the systems and approaches that enable evidence-based decision-making throughout the Campus.
  • Taking steps to ensure the sustainable development of Oberstown’s services and physical environment.





Damien Hernon, Oberstown Director, and Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Chairperson of the Oberstown Board of Management, present the Strategy to Minister Roderic O’Gorman (pictured centre).

Marking the Launch, Minister O’Gorman welcomed the publication of the Strategy: “I would like to thank Chair of the Board, Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Director Damien Hernon, the Board of Management and all the staff at Oberstown for their hard work and dedication to improving the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities. Their work is critical in supporting young people to address their offending and encouraging them to take the opportunities which will enable them to maximise their potential and return successfully to society.”

Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Chairperson of the Oberstown Board of Management, said: “Oberstown’s Strategy 2022-2026 is an ambitious blueprint for the future of youth detention in Ireland, which aims to ensure that we deliver the highest standards of rights-based care for young people in a challenging environment. Thanks to the the leadership, hard work and resilience of Oberstown’s staff, we have come through a period of immense change and challenge, emerging positive about our development. With a clarity of purpose and a commitment to our core values of respect, agility and partnership, I am confident that Oberstown can not only continue to deliver on its responsibility to address the needs of young people in conflict with the law to the benefit of their communities, but that Oberstown itself can be established as the leading centre of its kind internationally”.

Damien Hernon, Oberstown Director, said: “This progressive strategy challenges the whole team at Oberstown to harness and develop our talents and skills, and to continue to evolve to meet the increasingly complex needs of our young people. Oberstown’s strategic priorities are driven by our values of placing young people at the heart of what we do, with a focus on partnership, respect and integrity, to foster learning and to change offending behaviour, so that young people can return and contribute positively to their families and communities”.

Read the full Oberstown Strategy 2022-2026 here.