Reporter: David Richardson

It's the toughest thing any parent will ever have to do. The hardest decision a parent will ever make. The ultimate intervention... to demand authorities lock up their child. Chris and Jane Adams are at their wits end. Their 15 year old son Tony has gone completely off the rails in 6 short months.

"Car stealing, breaking into premises, stealing phones, MP-3 players, money. It's just completely stupid now. One of these days he'll end up killing someone" says Chris of his son. This family is being torn apart. At the time of our interview, they don't know where their son is.

Mum's not a soft touch anymore. Half a dozen court appearances has toughed her stand with her son. Now she wants the juvenile authorities to do the same thing, get tough, send him to prison. "He needs to go in there and spend time in there and really realise that this is what is going to happen. This is where I'm going to end up. He's only a year away from going to a real prison" says Jane.

Everything is locked up inside the home, even tools, that's because Tony has stolen everything and hawked it. Even the family car is club-locked. Tony has stolen cars from family members before, including his grand-parents and DVD's and play stations are locked in the boot so he can't pinch them either. It's sad to think these security screens are there to keep out their own son, to stop him breaking in and stealing other possessions. "Tony just thinks the whole thing is a joke because he's got all these papers that say you can't do this and you can't do that but when he does it they just say you're a bad boy don't do it again" says Jane.

In America it's called Intervention where parents desperate like the Adams family from Australia go to the most extraordinary lengths to save their kids from self-destruction.A man has a gambling problem, he's blown half a million dollars in 6-years. His family so desperate they agreed to appear on American television to snap them out of it.Interventions in America have become a popular tool of last resort. Parents undergoing training, organising rehabilitation, then confronting their loved one with an ultimatum - clean up or get out - for good.

Chris Adams has now written to the Justice Department begging them to lock up his son.Today Tonight found him with mates. He's promised his parents he'll stop his life of crime before he can be put in an adult prison. They fear it will be too late, intervention or not.

"If you're doing it for a year and a half you're not going to instantly turn the switch and stop doing the wrong thing. He has to learn that what he is doing is wrong" adds Jane.