A critical examination of two Australian youth case management programs: the implications on the government of young people.
Dr Joel Robert Mcgregor1, Dr Ben Lohmeyer2
1Swinburne University Of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia, 2Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Case management is promoted as a trademark of community service practice with marginalised young people in Australia. However, case management services in Australia are often funded through neoliberal social policy. Neoliberal policies govern young people as though they are inherently problematic, presenting their problems as a result of individual characteristics and suggests that they are solvable through short term interventions. Despite this, case management practice and case managers have largely escaped the attention of youth scholars. In this paper, we examine the reporting requirements, caseloads and qualification standards of two youth case management services in Australia (a Post-release Community Reintegration and an Educational Disengagement Service) to reveal the governing effects on young people, case managers and NGOs. This shift in focus exposes the compounding effect of interacting ‘governable spaces’. Critically analysing case management through this lens reveals the marginalising, stigmatising and infantilising effects of this seemingly generic practice method. We argue that shifting the focus from the young person exclusively as the object of governance to include the case manager and case management as separate but interacting governable spaces, provides new insights into these effects of case management on young people.
Dr Joel Robert McGregor is a Lecturer in Criminology at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. His research expertise centres on youth crime with a particular focus on the role of community-based programs in the reintegration of young offenders. Joel has journal publications in youth, crime, defiance and reintegration of young offenders and has recently published a special issue in The Journal of Applied Youth Studies themed ‘translating youth research into policy and practice’ with Dr Xanthé Mallet and Professor Rob White.