Action Plan for an ongoing, coordinated service response for youth homelessness in the ACT
There is currently no coordinated service response for children and young people experiencing family conflict who are at risk of homelessness. This gap in services poses a serious risk to a child’s or young person’s safety and results in their disengagement with education, poor mental health, involvement with child protection and youth justice and substance abuse.
A service for this cohort that addresses family conflict and provides therapeutic residential accommodation would support young people to reunite with their families and reduce the risk of homelessness.
- continuing to fund the Safe & Connected Youth (S&CY) program, and
- funding the Ruby’s Reunification Program
S&CY and Ruby’s would provide an integrated service that covers both the outreach and residential needs of children and young people at risk of homelessness. These services prevent youth homelessness and all the risks associated with youth homelessness.
Coordinated Service Response
Preservation - low risk homelessness
Young people who are still living at home but they, and their families, need support to decrease family conflict to prevent homelessness
Safe & Connected Youth
Outreach & Mediation
Reunification - high risk homelessness
Intervene early by providing young people a safe place to stay while working with them and their families in order to return home
Young people and families where it is not yet determined whether it is safe for the young person to return home
Young people seeking crisis accommodation and support
The ACT Government has promised an ongoing, coordinated service response for children under the age of 16 at risk of homelessness, or engaging with child protection or youth justice. This shared vision proposes two services that are proven to reduce family conflict and the risk of homelessness through outreach support and in-house therapeutic family counselling and residential accommodation.
Currently, young people experiencing family conflict who are at risk of homelessness, often stay in harmful or unsafe circumstances, disengage with education and have poor mental health.
S&CY and Ruby’s would provide an integrated service that covers both the outreach and residential needs of children and young people at risk of homelessness.
These actions are urgently needed in the ACT, with reports of increased family conflict, domestic and family violence due to the impact of COVID-19. As the ACT moves towards legislating to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility, this coordinated service response provides a therapeutic and supportive pathway for children, young people and their families.