First Nations/
Cross-over kids.

Image of person bowing their head

Wednesday 29th March 2023

Seminar | 4:45 PM-6:00 PM


Learn about cross-over kids in this discussion that explains how children from the child protection system become involved in the criminal justice system.

Children and young persons in the child protection system are nine times more likely to also be under the supervision of the youth justice system. This statistic is largely made up of Indigenous young people, who are already overrepresented in out-of-home care statistics.

Magistrate Jennifer Bowles, Magistrate Jelena Popovic, and Ashley Morris, Manager, Koori Services and Programs, Children's Court of Victoria, discuss this concerning phenomenon, and potential, achievable, and practical approaches to reducing the number of these ‘cross-over kids’ and improving the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.


Children's Court of Victoria
Magistrate Jennifer Bowles
Jennie Bowles has been a Magistrate for over 24 years, mostly in the Children’s Court. Jennie is the supervising Magistrate of the Children’s Koori Court. She is a member of the Judicial Officers’ Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Committee and chairs the Crossover Children Advisory Group Committee. Jennie was awarded the Dr Patricia Brown Award for excellence in the Children’s Court sphere. In 2014 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to review options for residential therapeutic treatment for young people suffering substance abuse/mental illness. Her recommendations included the establishment of a Youth Therapeutic Order, a Youth Drug Court and a Crossover List in the Children’s Court. Jennie annotated the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 in the textbook ‘Family Violence and Child Protection Law in Victoria’ and co-authored the textbook ‘Criminal Jurisdiction and Procedure in the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts of Victoria.
Children's Court of Victoria
Magistrate Jelena Popovic AM
Jelena served as a magistrate from 1989 and then as Deputy Chief Magistrate from 1997 to 2020. She served on the Adult Parole Board between 1997-2013 and continues to serve as a reserve magistrate. Jelena has written many academic articles on issues such as Therapeutic Jurisprudence and multiculturalism and the law. She was a Co-recipient of the International Society for Therapeutic Jurisprudence Peggy Hora/Michael Jones Award for Distinguished Judicial Service in 2019 and in 2012, she published a Churchill Fellowship report “Meaningful Sentencing of Indigent, Low-level Offenders.” Jelena is a member of the Judicial Officers Aboriginal Cross-Cultural Awareness Committee, the Education Committee and the Indigenous Justice Committee of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration.
Children's Court of Victoria
Ashley Morris
Ashley Morris is a Gunditjmara man from Victoria with ties to Dublin Ireland. Born in Traralgon Victoria and then moving to Brisbane, Perth, and Wodonga before relocating to Melbourne in 2011, Ash is currently the Koori Services Coordinator at the Broadmeadows Children’s Court. In this role he is responsible for the development and implementation of the Marram-Ngala Ganbu Koori Hearing day pilot. Ashley started his working life at the Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation in Wodonga where he started as a Trainee Administration officer before moving into the Position of Koori Youth Justice Worker where he run a number of diversionary programs and assisted Young Aboriginal people on youth justice orders. While in Melbourne Ash held a number of positions including the Broadmeadows Koori Court Officer, Community Corrections Officer, Koori Men’s Family Violence Court support and Coordinator of Koori Programs in the Koori Court Unit.