Expanding support to keep young Canberrans safe and connected

An ACT Government pilot program to support young Canberrans at risk of homelessness due to family conflict has expanded into a fully funded, ongoing service.

The Safe and Connected Youth: Coordinated Service Response program will be delivered by Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) in partnership with Marymead after they were selected as the preferred tenderers following an open procurement process.

Safe and Connected Youth works with young people under 16 and their families to address the causes of family conflict and enable children and young people to stay safely at home.

The expanded model introduces dedicated therapeutic respite accommodation that helps children and young people recharge in a safe environment. Young people with lived experience co-designed the property’s refurbishment to create a homely and inclusive space for their peers.

Minister for Families and Community Services Rachel Stephen-Smith said Safe and Connected Youth is a true first for the region.

“Safe and Connected Youth is the product of co-design and ‘try, test and learn’ implementation. I sincerely thank the young people and non-government organisations who have brought the program to life and I know it will make a real difference in the lives of young Canberrans and their families,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

“I’d particularly like to acknowledge the organisations that advocated for this program and for its expansion with a permanent residential component, the Youth Coalition of the ACT and the Rotary Club of Canberra.

“Safe and Connected Youth reflects our commitment to early support and helps build a holistic and integrated service system to achieve the best outcomes for children and families. It’s a great example of what we can achieve when we work together.”

Quotes attributable to Mel Haley, Chief Executive Officer of Conflict Resolution Service:

“Family conflict is one of the largest contributing factors to youth homelessness. The ACT Government’s commitment to invest in not only a service that will provide therapeutic support but also provide a fit-for-purpose residential house allowing respite for children and young people is most welcome.

“Research tells us having a connection to family leads to improved outcomes in all areas of a child or young person’s life including education, mental health and housing.

“Being the first of its kind for Canberra, we have been astounded by the level of commitment already shown by local businesses, who have committed to providing financial support to the ongoing development of the program.”

Quotes attributable to Tracey Hall, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of Marymead:

“Marymead is thrilled to partner with CRS in the delivery of the Safe and Connected Youth program.

“From the outset, the program has been developed through a genuine co-design and co-production process, and we are confident that the outcomes for children, young people and their families will strongly reflect the intent of the government in driving the early support agenda.”

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