Hope and confidence are essential ingredients for positive change. Across YFS we apply our core value of Optimism to help people believe in a better future and work to achieve it.
The YFS Board initiated the Thriving Families Project in July 2019 to trial an integrated way of working with homeless families with young children. In its first year, the team of family coaches and a housing specialist helped 33 young families get housed fast and work towards individual goals. Our partners to develop the service included Logan Together and Pathways to Resilience.
The program differs from traditional approaches, using the crisis of homelessness as an opportunity to connect families with a coach to help them build life skills, confidence and connections as they pursue goals related to education, work, parenting or health. An interim evaluation of the first nine months was promising, showing that the approach effectively engaged with families and met their needs, while providing a cost-efficient, effective approach to housing and family support services.
More than 200 young people worked with our Youthlink team in 2019-20 to re-engage with school, work, family, culture and other supports. Throughout the pandemic period, a big focus was ensuring young people stayed engaged with education. Across the board these impressive young people reported big improvements in their motivation and ability to make change thanks to their work with our team. Our youth drug and alcohol case management team Shift focused on helping young people reduce the impact of problematic substance use so they could create better futures.
Families who are subject to child safety investigations are under intense stress. YFS’ Assessment and Service Connect service backs families during this phase. Our team works alongside Child Safety staff during their investigation, linking families with tailored supports as quickly as possible. During the COVID-19 peak, this team saw a big increase in parents presenting with mental health and household relationship concerns. Despite significant stresses, 69% of families left the program with greatly increased hope for the future, while 31% said they were a little more hopeful.
- The YFS Board will back the Thriving Families Project for a second year to continue improving our effectiveness in helping vulnerable people achieve long term change.
- YFS will coordinate the Specialist Multi-Agency Response Team – a Queensland Government initiative that brings people from government agencies and community organisations to identify the support young people need to break their cycle of re-offending.
In August 2019 YFS launched a collaboration with ATSICHS, the Queensland Police Service and Youth Justice to provide an outreach service for young people at risk of detention. The Community Youth Response and Diversion program goes out into the community where young people are, offering support services such as transport and access to a safe place to stay for the night.
The team also delivers follow-up support to meet young people’s ongoing needs, such as connecting with social, cultural, arts and recreational activities that interest them and inspire pride. Diversionary programs such as music enabled young people to explore their ideas and feelings through media such as hip hop music.
From July 2019, as part of our organisational outcomes measurement, YFS staff asked all clients whether they were more hopeful about the future on exit than when they first came to YFS. 72% reported feeling a lot more hopeful, while 28% were a little more hopeful.
The Thriving Families Project measured change in hope and motivation when people first joined the project and then as they progressed. Improvements in both were significant. We anticipate further change as these families continue to pursue their goals.
Thriving Families hope and motivation
(based on a 10 point scale)
Source: Thriving Families Matrix
Thriving Families provides motivation for Tiarna and Levi
Tiarna came to Logan from Tasmania, fleeing a troublesome relationship. She joined the YFS Thriving Families Project within days of its launch, without a home and without the support of family or friends. Our Thriving Families team quickly backed Tiarna to find private rental accommodation, for the first time in her life. The team also supported Tiarna through some typical parenting challenges. Her son Levi “loves” the Thriving Families playgroup.