Youth Support a Circuit Breaker
14 October 2014 at 8:57 am
Support provided by social services can act as a “circuit breaker” for young people who have grown up in adversity, a report launched today by the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove claims.
Anglicare Australia’s 2014 State of the Family report was launched in Sydney, and according to its authors, it demonstrates the value of social service support for disadvantaged young people, and the need to extend that support beyond the age of 18.
Being a/part surveyed young people aged between 17 and 21 accessing Anglicare services, many of them homeless or in insecure housing and with a history of hardship, asking for their view of how social support, belonging and connection help them transition into early adulthood and independence.
Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said the survey found support provided by youth social service workers could be the circuit breaker for young people who have grown up in adversity.
“The greater adversity young people faced in childhood, the less the support they feel from families and friends,” Chambers said.
“That’s when other people in their lives, such as social service workers, play a significant role in helping them connect to their community.
“Overall, we know it is very important for young people to feel like they belong. But the sense of belonging depends on how they see the behaviour and responses of others.
“So if we want young people on the edges to feel they belong to society, rather than suggest that they are simply not trying, we need to create welcoming and accepting places.”
The Youth Movement Initiative (YMI) from Bendigo is a group of young people who grew up in care. In the report they pointed to the need for greater expectations, and the opportunities to fulfil them.
“YMI argues that most other young people are supported beyond the age of 18 in education, finding work, and somewhere to live,” Chambers said.
“If we are to raise our expectations for disadvantaged young people, we also need to provide the support and opportunities for them.
“This survey has a message for everyone. Social support, given and received, helps you connect to community. If you can’t get that from your family or your school, you need to be able to get it from other people and services.”