Concern For Under 16 Year Olds In The Homelessness System.

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20th October 2010, 07:10pm - Views: 868
Concern for <16 year olds in the Homelessness System.

The Youth Homelessness Peak of NSW, the Youth Accommodation Association (YAA), commends the NSW Ombudsman for highlighting the concerns around the provision of appropriate support from Community Services when children under 16 years of age or under the care of the Minister are accommodated in youth specialist homelessness services.

The NSW Ombudsman's Annual Report for 2009-2010 features a case study of a 13 year old girl with an extensive child protection history who, once placed in a youth homelessness service, was informed that Community Services had now closed their file on her.

"We too are concerned by the case study raised by the Ombudsman and are looking for leadership on this issue from Community Services" said the Youth Accommodation Association's CEO Michael Coffey.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. Specialist Youth Homelessness Services around NSW regularly accommodate children and young people who are in need of significant and additional support from Community Services due to their young age, current child protection concerns or because they are under the care of the Minister.

"These cases demonstrate just how opportune it is that there are specialist youth homelessness services in NSW that provide 24/7 care and are able to accommodate these children and young people. Without it, what would happen to these children and young people?" asked Michael Coffey.

However, these specialist homelessness services do not have the resources available to provide everything that a child or young person with high needs may require and they cannot legally provide parental responsibility for the child or young person. YAA also has concerns of the long term impact on these children and young people if they remain in the homelessness system for extended periods.

YAA looks forward to speed up the process of working with the Community Services, to continue the development of a revised 'Youth SAAP policy' to better support those children and young people who fall into the homelessness services who are either under the care of the Minister or who have an open case with Community Services or also those children and young people who do not have an open case and are not under the care of the Minister but still require the support of Community Services.

"This is something we now need to address with the utmost urgency" said Michael Coffey.

For further information and comment, please contact:

Michael Coffey, CEO, Youth Accommodation Association: 0425 228 758


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