Wrap-around support essential for young people

Young person with a cap on backwards, smiling, standing sidewards to the camera. I older person is standing in the background.

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the needs of vulnerable children and young people living across the North and North West into sharp relief.

Anglicare’s Supported Youth Program (SYP) is an intervention service that incorporates intensive case management for young people in the 10 – 18 age bracket living across the region.

Demand for the wrap-around service that SYP provides has soared in the past 12 months as families experience financial pressures and high levels of conflict and stress. In the six-month period from January to June this year Anglicare supported 82 young people across the North and North West. The program is now at capacity and there is a wait-list.

Anglicare also operates the Reconnect service within the SYP program in the North West. It works with the young person and their family to reconcile their differences wherever possible and thereby reduce the risk of homelessness. Practitioners also work within the school community to keep students engaged, build their resilience and help them with goal-setting.

Anglicare’s General Manager Housing and Community Services Noel Mundy says the needs of these young people are complex.

“They experience a range of issues such as childhood trauma, poor mental health, breakdowns in family relationships and drug or alcohol misuse,” he says. “They need stable and appropriate housing and support to re-engage with education. They also need food, income support, medical care and legal advice and just as importantly, they need to have people in their lives who care about them and their future.”

The SYP program is life-changing for young people like Andrew and Susan.*

Andrew was referred to SYP when he was 14 and could no longer live with his family due to the physical abuse and enforced isolation he experienced.  He had never been allowed to enrol in school and he had no friends. Anglicare’s SYP practitioners supported Andrew to obtain ID so that he can access Centrelink benefits, find stable accommodation, settle in well at school and gain the essential independent living skills that he needs. He now has goals: to finish school and college with good results and enrol in the Army.

Susan’s family members had very poor mental health and home had become an unsafe space for her. She came to SYP at age 16 and in the early stages of pregnancy, with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder; she had disconnected from school and had suicidal ideation. SYP gave Susan strategies to cope with her anxiety and prepare for parenthood. She was supported to contact and engage with other services, including housing.

Noel Mundy said that additional one-off funding from the State Government at the height of the pandemic had helped Anglicare to reach more children in the under 16 age group than it would normally have been able to, at a time when their need was the greatest.

“It was really encouraging to see young people successfully completing the program and we would like to see this level of funding continue,” he said.

“We are very supportive of the government’s commitment to build a new facility in Launceston that will provide supported accommodation for eight 12 to 15-year-olds from June next year.

This type of investment will make a huge difference in the lives of these children and young people.

*Names have been changed.


More information

Anglicare’s SYP program (North and North West)

Anglicare’s Reconnect program (North West)

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