Keeping young Canberrans safe and connected



Young Canberrans aged 8 to 15 who are at risk of becoming homeless or entering the justice system due to family disputes will continue to receive therapeutic respite accommodation and supports to help them return home. safely as far as possible.

The upcoming ACT budget will provide ongoing funding to expand the Safe and Connected Youth program to include an element of residential therapeutic respite based on the Ruby’s reunification program that operates in South Australia.

“Safe and Connected Youth has been an incredibly successful partnership with young people and several non-governmental organizations, facilitated by the Youth Coalition of the ACT and the Rotary Club of Canberra,” said Minister of Families and Community Services Rachel Stephen- Smith.

“Young people who have serious problems at home may be at risk of dropping out of school, becoming homeless and even entering the child welfare or youth justice system.

“The Safe and Connected Youth program works with a child or youth and their family, providing close support, therapeutic case management and family mediation, with the goal of reducing family conflict and ensuring a safe family environment. .

“The Safe and Connected Youth pilot program helped most of the young people involved to return home safely and where that was not possible the program was able to keep them out of homelessness and ensure them a safe place to live.

“I am delighted that Safe and Connected Youth is now being expanded to provide dedicated therapeutic respite accommodation in a renovated property that has been designed in conjunction with youth who have experienced homelessness,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

As part of the ACT 2021-2022 budget, $ 7 million will be provided over four years for the Safe and Connected Youth: Coordinated Service Response program, including:

  • $ 4.1 million for the operating costs of therapeutic respite accommodation
  • $ 2.6 million for early preservation outreach services, including mediation and social work
  • $ 157,000 for post-exit approach services
  • $ 185,000 to establish the program

This builds on $ 1.2 million provided under the 2020-2021 Fast-Track program for the renovation of a Housing ACT property to provide therapeutic respite accommodation to youth involved in the program.

Quotes attributable to Justin Barker, Youth Coalition of the ACT Executive Director

“This program is the first of its kind in Australia. The funding supports not only an early intervention service response, but also moderate and crisis interventions.

“It will cover both the local needs and the residential needs of children and young people at risk of homelessness. These services prevent homelessness among young people and all the risks associated with it.

Quotes attributable to Dr David Marshall AM, President of the Rotary Vulnerable Youth Project

“I applaud the ACT government and Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith for funding a home renovation in Canberra to provide a safe, short-term home for teens in need of urgent support.

Rotary is contributing financially to this renovation. This initiative, in association with the ACT Youth Coalition, will be the first of its kind in ACT where young people can stay while being surrounded by youth support services. The ultimate goal is to get them back to live with their families. “

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