Youth services in Liverpool have been greatly improved following the opening of Uniting Care Burnside’s Youth Hope Program.
Youth Hope is a service for vulnerable young people aged 9-15 who are at risk of significant harm as a result of neglect, homelessness, domestic violence or drug and alcohol use. The service is being trialled over four years in six locations where there have been a high number of child protection reports for children in this age bracket.
As the Deputy Chair – Committee on Children and Young People, I felt privileged to be invited to speak at such an innovative approach to helping young people in our local community Melanie Gibbons MP, Member for Menai said.
“The program is part of a $10 million dollar state-wide program designed to prevent young people from coming to harm.
“UnitingCare Burnside will receive up to $1.8 million a year for the next three years to provide services designed to stop young people from losing direction in South West Sydney.” Ms Gibbons said.
They have a positive track record working with our defenceless children and young people. The program aims to help young people turn their lives around – avoid them getting caught up in the child protection system and ending up in care.
“Without this support they could end up homeless, getting involved in crime, abusing alcohol and drugs and leaving school early.
“Vulnerable young people who access Youth Hope services are likely to receive a different type of support, depending on what works for them.
“This new approach is very different to past practice, which slotted vulnerable children into predetermined programs thought to be effective.” Ms Gibbons said.
Youth Hope is evidence-based, focused on demonstrated effectiveness for and responsiveness to the needs of young people, including by involving them in the choices about effective supports.
“Intervening earlier in the lives of children and young people is the best way to prevent them from entering care.
“For too long this group received limited support until the family has reached crisis point.
“The NSW Government is addressing this issue so that services for young people and their families are available earlier and can be more effective.
“This is a service that I will be very interested in watching over the time of the program and keep up to date with all their successes. This is a wonderful new innovative facility that will be used to help give our youth the best start in life” Ms Gibbons said.