Youth connect

Youth CONNECT is a program developed in partnership with the Queensland Government to help young people leaving state-based care get on their feet and develop the skills and confidence to live independently.

 

The program is a long-term, holistic solution to homelessness and achieves sustainable outcomes through four levels of support: housing; employment; education and work readiness; and personal development.

Churches of Christ in Queensland has a strong track record in providing support across these areas via our different transition services (CYCLE, Lead Tenant Program, Supported Independent Living), Youth CONNECT offers young people leaving state-based care a truly holistic, individualised, and intensive program of support that brings together our extensive experience under a single program.  
 

 

Eligibility

Eligibility

An eligible person is a person who:

  • as at their proposed referral date, is exiting, or has exited, statutory care or custody, and is homeless or is at risk of homelessness; and
  • is leaving the child protection system, is aged 15 to 18 years old (both ages inclusive), has had four (4) or more placements in Out-of-Home Care;
    OR
  • is leaving the youth justice system, adult corrections facilities, housing service centre or homelessness service or (with the agreement of the parties) from any other system or service, is aged 15 to 25 years old (both ages inclusive), has had one or more substantiated contacts with the child protection system, including any placement in Out-of-Home Care
    AND
  • lives, or intends to live in one of the catchment areas

 

Referral process

Young people can self-refer however, they are more likely to be referred by a government, non-government or community organisation case worker.  The process is outlined below:

  1. Read the referral agency information sheet 
  2. Referring worker has a conversation with the young person about the Youth CONNECT program and gains consent to refer them to the program
  3. Referring agencies such as Child Safety, Youth Justice, Housing Services and non-government organisations, please complete the referral form 
  4. Department of Housing and Public Works sends referral to Youth CONNECT
  5. Youth CONNECT program team reviews application (Youth CONNECT team member may contact applicant or referrer to seek further information if required)
  6. Department of Housing and Public Works is notified of outcome within two (2) business days

 

 

Program details

Youth CONNECT’s goal is to ensure young people leaving care have:

  • better living conditions
  • enhanced participation in education and the workforce
  • better mental health outcomes
  • stronger personal relationships
  • improved social integration.

To achieve this, the program steps through four stages allowing participants enough time to build, practice, and demonstrate the skills required to live independently and successfully:.

Each young person engaged in the Youth CONNECT program will be supported by a case manager and support worker(s) to identify their individual personal development needs and develop a case plan focused on:

  • Obtaining and maintaining stable housing arrangements
  • Engaging or re-engaging in employment or education
  • Other  needs such as engaging in counselling, health management, parenting courses and building social skills and healthy relationships.

 

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Funding - Social Benefit Bond

Delivered under a Queensland Government-issued Social Benefit Bond (SBB), Youth CONNECT is the first ‘resilience’ bond in the world to focus on improving the life chances of young people transitioning from state care into adulthood and independence in the general community.

The Social Benefit Bond was established in July 2015 by Queensland Treasury, in recognition of the need to try a different approach to tackling challenging social issues.

A Social Benefit Bond is an outcomes-based arrangement involving the government, private investors and a service provider.  It is a form of Social Impact Investment, which seeks to create both financial returns and positive social impacts that are measured in terms of financial and social impacts. As an outcomes-based arrangement, payment by the government is dependent on demonstrating the delivery of agreed outcomes.

Download:

Investor information pack

Referral form

Referral information sheet

FAQs - Youth Connect

I’m not sure what the program is all about. Who can I contact?

All enquiries can be sent to youthconnect@cofcqld.com.au or phone Children, Youth and Families on (07) 3327 1696.

Is Youth CONNECT the right program for my client?

Youth CONNECT aims to help clients identify the barriers to maintaining stable accommodation, and actively works with them to address these barriers. Youth CONNECT is best suited to clients who struggle to maintain accommodation without support. Youth CONNECT does not have access to emergency accommodation, so your client should have at least short-term accommodation options available to them.

Does my client need to know about the referral before I send it?

Client informed consent is crucial, and all clients will need to understand the Youth CONNECT program and sign their referral form  before it is sent in. You can view our client information brochure  

Where do I send my referral?

Referral pathways differ depending on who the referring agency is. Government referrals, or referrals from housing and homelessness services, are sent to the Department of Housing and Public Works for eligibility checks. Non-government referrals can be sent to youthconnect@cofcqld.com.au. Waiting times vary depending on your agency’s referral process and allocation. If you’re unsure, contact Youth CONNECT  for more information. You can also download a referral form.  

What is expected of referrers?

All referring services are expected to provide Youth CONNECT with a warm handover so we can understand your client’s strengths and needs, and the best ways of working with your client. Referring services will be asked to complete a brief assessment document and may be asked to provide additional information for clients with complex needs. You can find more information for refers here.

How will Youth CONNECT help my client?

Youth CONNECT works with clients for up to three years through case management support. Clients are actively involved in assessment, case planning and skill development through the support of a Case Manager and Support Worker/s. We link clients with appropriate services to help them address the barriers to housing stability, and provide in home support to strengthen living skills.

Are you open to co-case management?

Yes. Many of our clients have complex needs and will require more than one support service to maintain housing stability. We regularly engage in co-case management with government and non-government service providers.

Will my client be provided housing by Youth CONNECT?

Youth CONNECT complete an assessment with the client and their referrer to identify the best housing solution for that client. Some clients may be referred to Churches of Christ Housing Services if that is the most appropriate solution for that client, and waiting times for this option will vary. Youth CONNECT do not access social housing stock or emergency accommodation.

 

Governance

The program has been created by Churches of Christ in Queensland in partnership with the Queensland Government.

Churches of Christ in Queensland has been caring for and improving the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people for more than 130 years. We have more than 45 years’ experience working with young people in statutory care and over 60 years’ experience in managing social and affordable housing, and providing supported accommodation.

Our organisation has a long and effective history of working with young people, and a proven and respected model of care.

We have robust policies and procedures to ensure appropriate and high-quality care is provided to all participants including:

  • Guidelines to ensure participants are matched appropriately to share accommodation
  • Policies and procedures aligned to HSQF standards and relevant housing legislation
  • Operates within national quality frameworks and standards across all areas of service
  • Fully trained, appropriately qualified and experienced staff
  • Application of the Sanctuary Model to provide an evidence based, trauma-informed and holistic framework for working with vulnerable young people