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20 Dec 2021

Safe & Connect Youth: Coordinated Services Response Program

It was fantastic to hear in the 2021–22 ACT Budget, that the ACT Government, will provide $7 million over four years for the Safe and Connected Youth: Coordinated Service Response Program.

This program will support children and young people aged 8 to 15 at risk of homelessness, and their families, with a suite of services including family support, mediation and outreach. It will also respond to the critical gap in accommodation services for children and young people in this age group, by establishing a therapeutic respite accommodation service.

We cannot underestimate how much better off children and young people will be as a result of this funding. Between 8 to 15 years is a time of remarkable opportunity and growth. Through intervening early, we can ensure young people have the support they need to thrive in our Canberra community.

As most of you are aware, the support and accommodation gap for children under the age of 16 in the ACT has been raised as an ongoing concern by the sector for nearly 20 years. This funding will fill this gap, by providing a coordinated service response for children at risk of or experiencing homelessness, or engaging with child protection or youth justice.

This funding is so important and makes a real difference to the lives of so many children, young people and their families. Providing support to families in their time of need is at the core of what we do at Marymead. Providing a safe environment for children and young people can change their life trajectory.

We need to acknowledge all of the Canberra community, specifically, the organisations and advocates who have been lobbying tirelessly for over 20 years, this is a fantastic outcome and one that will ensure that children at risk of homelessness have coordinated services in place to help them at a time when they are so vulnerable.

The ACT Government invested an initial $480,000 to fund the Safe & Connected Youth Pilot of which Marymead were a collaborative partner.

The procurement process is currently underway with more information in the new year.

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