“This year we have continued to see the results of the systemic and strategic advocacy approach the Youth Coalition has developed over the last two years.”

Dr Justin Barker, CEO, The Youth Coalition of the ACT

Dr Justin Barker, CEO, The Youth Coalition of the ACT

Highlights

New funding to reduce child homelessness, support families and strengthen our community
ACT Minister for Children, Youth and Families Rachel Stephen-Smith has allocated $470,000 this financial year to the Safe and Connected Youth Program, on top of a $1 million commitment to build fit-for-purpose respite accommodation for young people under the age of 16.
Service Improvement Project
A systematic and structured approach to service improvement About the Service Improvement Project (SIP) The Service Improvement Project (SIP) offers a systematic, collaborative and structured approach to service improvement. Stage One aimed to articulate outcomes at the individual, service and program levels across the child, youth and family sector. Stage Two of the project intends to build on the foundations
YOGIES 2019
The Annual Yogie Awards (the YOGIES) recognise, celebrate, promote and reward outstanding practice in working with young people in the ACT and surrounding area. The YOGIES highlight the exceptional commitment, talent and innovation that exist in the youth sector.
Communities and Schools Together Project (CAST)
The Youth Coalition is working with two school sites and community programs to progress the CAST initiative, which aims to intervene early to provide coordinated services and support to young people and families, within schools and communities. CAST is based upon The Geelong Project, which saw a reduction in youth homelessness and increase in school retention. Initial project coordination activities are being undertaken by the Youth Coalition.

Advocacy and Representation

Participated in over

0
services

Examples of the committees and groups that the Youth Coalition participated in this year include:

• Joint Community Government Reference Group
• Joint Pathways (homelessness sector meeting)
• Community Services Industry Strategy Steering Group
• CYFSP Practice Leaders Group & Workforce Development Subcommittee
• Justice Reform Group
• StandBy Support Service Reference Group
• Industry Strategy Steering Group
• Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing Children and Young People’s Advisory Committee
• Children and Young People’s Mental Health Review Reference Group
• Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing Youth Mental Health Navigation Portal Reference Group
• Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing Co-Design Working Group for Moderate-Severe Mental Illness
• ACT Peaks Network
• Murrumbidgee Education & Training Centre Training & Employment Committee

National forums:
• Australian Youth Affairs Coalition’s Board
• National executive and State and Territory Advisory Network of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia)
• State and Territory Youth Peaks

Capacity Building & Sector Development

The Youth Coalition provides a range of activities that aim to support workers, services, and the youth sector to build their capacity to work with young people in the ACT.

Examples of sector development undertaken by the Youth Coalition this year include:

  • Youth Housing and Homelessness Forum (YHHF): Held monthly, the YHHF provides a forum for staff from across the community and government sectors who support young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to identify and progress key issues. During COVID-19 restrictions forums were held online via Zoom. This was an excellent opportunity for the Youth Housing and Homelessness sector to connect and provide updates on capacity, needs and changes due to COVID-19.
  • Multicultural Youth Affairs Network ACT (MYAN ACT): MYAN ACT is delivered in partnership with Multicultural Youth Services, and aims to bring together key stakeholders across the community and government sectors to improve support for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. In 2019-20, MYAN ACT contributed to the Review of Children and Young People’s Mental Health, the Safe and Connected Youth Project and responded to the impact of COVID-19 on young people and families from migrant and refugee backgrounds. 
  • Youth Worker Practice Network (YWPN): The YWPN provides a Community of Practice for frontline youth workers. Over 60 frontline youth workers in the ACT are members of the network, representing 25 organisations and programs. YWPN activities include regular  training sessions, formal full day / multi day training opportunities, and ‘out of hours’ social activities. It cultivates a ‘high value for time’ principle, ensuring that the time members allocate to being involved in the network will see a return on investment through. Throughout COVID-19 the YWPN has continued to provide online support to workers:
    • Improved individual practice 
    • A better informed and more cohesive youth sector
    • Opportunities for support and mentoring, leading to a reduction of ‘burnout’ and increased staff retention across the youth sector
    • Improved outcomes for the programs that members work in and the young people they support.

 

YWPN provides a Community of Practice for over

0
frontline youth workers in the ACT

representing

0
frontline youth workers in the ACT
Policy Development

The Youth Coalition provides policy analysis and development relating to a range of social policy and program decisions that affect young people and youth services in the ACT. Our policy work is strongly informed by current evidence and research on youth affairs, workers and services supporting young people in the ACT, and young people aged 12-25.

Our policy work is integrated into all Youth Coalition activities, including sector development, advocacy and representation activities. We also develop policy submissions throughout the year in response to government consultations and to make recommendations to inform future policy directions. 

In 2019-20, the Youth Coalition’s policy work has primarily focused on progressing the development of a policy and program response to support the unmet accommodation and support needs of 8-15 year olds in the ACT (see the Safe and Connected Youth Project for more information). Additionally, we supported work locally and nationally to advocate for raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14. During this time, we supported the child, youth and family sector across community and government in relation to the impact of COVID-19. We have also worked closely with the Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing to contribute to reforms to the youth mental health sector.

In 2019-20, the Youth Coalition developed the following policy submissions, including appearing at Inquiry hearings:

  • Submission to the ACT Budget 2020-2021
  • Submission to the Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group
  • Submission to the Inquiry into Youth Mental Health in the ACT, including appearing at the Public Hearing
  • Communique regarding the early impact of COVID-19 on the ACT Youth and Family Sector

Copies of written submissions are published on our website once they are made available to the public by the ACT Legislative Assembly, and transcripts of public hearing appearances are available via the ACT Legislative Assembly Hansard website.

 

In addition to these written submissions, the Youth Coalition participated in and informed a range of ACT policy processes, including: 

  • Contributing to the Review of Children and Young People’s Mental Health by the Office of Mental Health and Wellbeing, including participating in subsequent policy work to co-design a Youth Mental Health Navigation Portal, and scope solutions for young people with moderate to severe mental illness
  • Conducting a survey of child, youth and family services to explore the impact of COVID-19 on workers and services, and working with ACT Government directorates to support their community responses
  • Working with services in the out-of-home care sector to explore the role and function of youth participation activities across services and the sector.
Information & Advice

A core function of the Youth Coalition is to communicate information and provide advice to members and stakeholders. Examples of the ways in which we do this include:

  • Regular updates to the Youth Coalition of the ACT’s website
  • Active use of social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter with a combined following of 4,428
  • Maintenance of a number of stakeholder networks and forums
  • Publication of eBulletins which are distributed to 1,987 people
  • Responding to enquiries and requests for information from stakeholders across the community and government sectors

Key Activities and Projects

Service Improvement Project

A systematic and structured approach to service improvement About the Service Improvement Project (SIP) The Service Improvement Project (SIP) offers a systematic, collaborative and structured approach to service improvement. Stage One aimed to articulate outcomes at the individual, service and program levels across the child, youth and family sector. Stage Two of the project intends to build on the foundations

Read More »

Safe and Connected Youth Project

Working to improve family functioning to reduce homelessness RestorationReunificationReconciliation The S&CY project works with children and their families to improve parent-child relationship and family functioning to reduce risk of homelessness. The Safe and Connected Youth (S&CY) Program is part of the flagship advocacy of the Youth Coalition of the ACT that aims to address the glaring service gap for children

Read More »

Communities and Schools Together Project (CAST)

The Youth Coalition is working with two school sites and community programs to progress the CAST initiative, which aims to intervene early to provide coordinated services and support to young people and families, within schools and communities. CAST is based upon The Geelong Project, which saw a reduction in youth homelessness and increase in school retention. Initial project coordination activities

Read More »

What’s On and Services Directory

The What’s On website was created to allow youth sector services to upload programs and events to an online directory as an accessible and centralised place. Building upon the directory. We have begun working to create a services directory and knowledge base that is designed to be used by a range of professionals who have contact with young people. It

Read More »

Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare

Ozchild commissioned the Youth Coalition to develop a program logic, program guidelines and procedures, and a monitoring and evaluation framework for the FFT-CW program, which is being implemented as a partnership between Ozchild and Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation. This project will be completed in 2020. 

Read More »

Impact of COVID-19

The significant impact of COVID-19 upon young people, families and the services that support them led us to conduct a survey with workers and services across the child, youth and family sector. A communique was developed and disseminated to key stakeholders with the key findings and recommendations. We received 0 responses across 0 organisations Survey Findings In early April, the

Read More »

Service Improvement Project

A systematic and structured approach to service improvement About the Service Improvement Project (SIP) The Service Improvement Project (SIP) offers a systematic, collaborative and structured approach to service improvement. Stage One aimed to articulate outcomes at the individual, service and program levels across the child, youth and family sector. Stage Two of the project intends to build on the foundations

Read More »

Safe and Connected Youth Project

Working to improve family functioning to reduce homelessness RestorationReunificationReconciliation The S&CY project works with children and their families to improve parent-child relationship and family functioning to reduce risk of homelessness. The Safe and Connected Youth (S&CY) Program is part of the flagship advocacy of the Youth Coalition of the ACT that aims to address the glaring service gap for children

Read More »

Communities and Schools Together Project (CAST)

The Youth Coalition is working with two school sites and community programs to progress the CAST initiative, which aims to intervene early to provide coordinated services and support to young people and families, within schools and communities. CAST is based upon The Geelong Project, which saw a reduction in youth homelessness and increase in school retention. Initial project coordination activities

Read More »

What’s On and Services Directory

The What’s On website was created to allow youth sector services to upload programs and events to an online directory as an accessible and centralised place. Building upon the directory. We have begun working to create a services directory and knowledge base that is designed to be used by a range of professionals who have contact with young people. It

Read More »

Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare

Ozchild commissioned the Youth Coalition to develop a program logic, program guidelines and procedures, and a monitoring and evaluation framework for the FFT-CW program, which is being implemented as a partnership between Ozchild and Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation. This project will be completed in 2020. 

Read More »

Impact of COVID-19

The significant impact of COVID-19 upon young people, families and the services that support them led us to conduct a survey with workers and services across the child, youth and family sector. A communique was developed and disseminated to key stakeholders with the key findings and recommendations. We received 0 responses across 0 organisations Survey Findings In early April, the

Read More »

“We continue to be excited and optimistic about the future of the youth sector and young people in the ACT. We have the privilege of working with a diverse range of young people in the ACT. So, lastly, we would like to thank all the young people we have worked with over the year for continuing to show us incredible strength, integrity, creativity, insight and passion.”

Dr Justin Barker, CEO, The Youth Coalition of the ACT

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