Youth detention and COVID-19

Personal and professional visits have restarted at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and Cleveland Youth Detention Centre.

We are working closely with Queensland Health to ensure the safety and wellbeing of young people, staff and the community and extensive planning has taken place to respond to COVID-19.

We have strategies in place including:

  • COVID-19 health checks for young people
  • increased cleaning and sanitisation
  • increased availability of hand sanitisers and protective equipment
  • extra staff training on hygiene, the use of protective equipment and extra safety measures for any young person identified as high risk.   

Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s caseworker if they have any concerns.

Staff will work with families to ensure they can stay in contact with young people.

It is important for young people in youth detention centres to connect with their family, friends and community.

Everyone who comes to a youth detention centre must have a health screen, including a temperature check, before they enter. This includes:

  • staff
  • visitors
  • other essential workers.

Safety measures have been put in place to keep everyone safe and visitors must follow the direction of staff on centre.

Youth detention centres have experience dealing with easily transferable health risks and we have well developed plans to deal with infectious diseases. The decisions we make about the health and wellbeing of young people and staff in youth detention centres during the COVID-19 pandemic are based on advice from Queensland Health.

The Department of Youth Justice has strategies in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 in youth detention centres. These actions are designed to protect the health and wellbeing of young people and staff and include:

  • COVID-19 health checks for young people, performed by Queensland Health 
  • increased cleaning and sanitisation of all areas and equipment
  • increased availability of hand sanitisers, anti-bacterial wipes and protective equipment
  • extra staff training on:
    • hygiene
    • caring for young people with COVID-19
    • using protective equipment
  • extra safety measures for any young person identified as high risk
  • encouraging social distancing.

In line with recommended precautions for the general community, young people in youth detention centres have access to influenza vaccines administered by onsite health staff.

Young people’s caseworkers will stay in regular contact with parents and carers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact your child’s caseworker if you have any questions or concerns.

Frequently asked questions

Has the admission process at youth detention centres changed?

Admissions at Brisbane Youth Detention Centre have restarted. Extra safety measures are being applied. All staff, young people and essential workers are being checked for COVID-19 symptoms before admission and/or entry to a centre.

What happens if a young person gets sick in detention?

All young people in youth detention centres have access to health services on site, provided by Queensland Health. If a young person gets sick, they will be taken care of at the centre in line with Queensland Health advice and only if it is safe to do so. Queensland Health will arrange for a young person to go to hospital if needed. Young people who display symptoms of COVID-19 while in detention will be isolated from other young people in line with Queensland Health advice.

What happens to young people who need to return to remote communities?

All young people will have a detailed medical discharge summary from Queensland Health when they leave the youth detention centre. This is part of our usual process. The medical discharge will say if the young person needs to isolate or quarantine in the community.

Are visits to youth detention centres permitted?

Personal and professional visits to Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and Cleveland Youth Detention Centre have restarted.

Youth detention centre staff will continue to work with families and other visitors to ensure contact with young people. Personal and privileged mail is being delivered as per usual. As always, we encourage parents, guardians, family and members of the community to continue to keep in touch via mail.

We will continue to monitor community health data. If new risks are identified, youth detention centres will scale their response to match the spread of the virus. We will base any changes to visits on advice from health experts.

What activities or services are being offered to support young people?

Young people at BYDC have returned to school and structured activities. Strict infection control measures are in place.

At CYDC, the Department of Education continues to deliver educational programs in youth detention centres. Cultural units are also providing essential support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Mental health services and other supports are also operating. In addition, behaviour support teams are working with staff and young people to address the types of issues young people may be experiencing during this time.

More information