Youth detention and COVID-19

COVID-19 practices continue to apply, including:

  • social distancing
  • COVID-19 health screening for everyone who enters a youth detention centre
  • mask wearing (highly recommended but not mandatory).

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

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

Caring for young people in the centre

Youth detention centres have experience dealing with easily transferable health risks and 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.

We have strategies in place, including:

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

All young people at a youth detention centre 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, 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 and tested for COVID-19.

We will notify you if your child has COVID-19.

Young people have programs and structured activities, and cultural units are providing essential support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

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

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

Staying connected

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

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.

All visits to a youth detention centre must be arranged in advance. When arranging your visit, the things we will consider include:

  • the current COVID situation in the centre
  • how to best manage COVID-related risks
  • individual circumstances.

If face-to-face visits are not possible, staff will tell you why and facilitate video links and phone contact.

Entering a youth detention centre

You no longer have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit a youth detention centre. The Chief Health Officer removed this requirement as of 30 June 2022.

Masks are not mandatory but are highly recommended, for everyone’s protection.

You should not enter a youth detention centre if you have:

  • had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • a fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath)
  • tested positive for COVID-19 in the past seven days.

Extra safety measures are in place when young people are admitted to a youth detention centre. Young people are checked for COVID-19 symptoms before admission and/or entry to a centre.

You can learn more about COVID and youth detention centres in our factsheets for: