Father Chris Riley

Father Chris Riley, founder and CEO of Youth Off The Streets, has worked with disadvantaged youth for more than 30 years in a variety of roles including teacher, youth worker, probation officer, residential carer and principal.

Father Chris Riley was inspired by the 1931 movie “Boys’ Town”, and at the age of 15 was determined to become a priest to take care of those kids who had no one else. He worked for the charity Boys’ Town in a variety of roles and finally as Principal.

In 1991, he left Boys’ Town and began to set up a variety of programs for troubled youth. The programs are always responsive to need and are designed to help them develop the skills and qualities that will enable each young person to regain control of their own lives. see more.

Father Riley has implemented innovative behaviour modification strategies to help young people deal with a history of trauma, abuse and neglect including the Values Education Service Learning curriculum which is now available to schools accross Australia as part of the YOUth Making a Difference teacher resource.

In 1997, Father Riley opened Key College independent High School and pioneered flexible education delivery model to help young people living on the streets and in temporary accomodation return to school.

As CEO of Youth Off The Streets, Father Riley oversees the operation of 20 programs that employ 150 people and more than 800 volunteers.

With less than forty percent of funding coming from government sources, Youth Off The Streets has become one of the largest youth services in Australia, offering residential rehabilitation, counselling, street-based programs, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, specialist Aboriginal services, education and family support facilities.

Father Chris Riley believes there is no such thing as a “child born bad”, but acknowledges that there are bad environments, circumstances and families that impact negatively on our young.

“We must have the courage to demand greatness from our youth”


  • Diploma of Teaching (3 years trained) Australian Catholic University, Castlebar Road, Chadstone, 1975

  • Secondary Teachers Certificate of Registration No. 37378, 27 November 1975

  • Primary Teachers Registration Board, 19 March 1976

  • Bachelor of Theology, Melbourne College of Divinity, Clayton, Victoria, 30 April 1982

  • Bachelor of Arts (major Sociology and English) Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 6 June 1984

  • Diploma of Abuse Counselling, Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, Lutwyche, Queensland, 4 January 1996

  • Diploma of Psychology, Applied School of Psychology, Sydney, 1997


  • Australian Institute of Professional Counselling

  • Fellow of Reclaiming Youth International, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

  • Australian representative at the World Health Organisation (WHO) conference on street children and substance abuse 1994