Youth connect

Youth CONNECT is a program focused on helping young people leaving state-based care find their feet and develop the skills and confidence to live independently. 

Youth CONNECT promotes a holistic and long-term solution to homelessness that supports young people through four key areas:

  1. housing
  2. employment
  3. education and work readiness
  4. personal development

 

Youth CONNECT does not provide emergency housing. 

 

Eligibility

An eligible person is a person who:

  • as at their proposed referral date is within six (6) months of exiting 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 within six (6) months of 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
  • agrees to have their personal information provided to Churches of Christ Queensland  

 

Referral process

Youth CONENCT has formal referral partnerships with the Department of Child Safety Youth and Women and Department of Housing and Public Works. Referrals from our referring partners are assessed and forwarded to Youth CONNECT via the Department of Housing and Public Works.  

Young people and their support service may also self-refer to Youth CONNECT however, they are more likely to be referred by a government, non-government or community organisation case worker.

If you are referring a young person, it is important to have a conversation with them about the Youth CONNECT program and its suitability for them before lodging an application.

The process: is outlined below:

1.    Read the referral agency information sheet and brochure 
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
 

Once submitted

After you referral is submitted it is assessed by Youth CONNECT and the department of housing and public works to determine eligibility and suitability. 
 

Program details

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

  • safe and stable accommodation
  • workforcefulfilling employment and/or education opportunities
  • plan for ongoing personal development  
  • meaningful social connections 

To achieve this, a young person moves through four stages to allow enough time to build, practice, and demonstrate the skills required to live independently and successfully:

Your journey is as unique as you are. Young people engaged in the Youth CONNECT program are supported by a case manager and support worker(s) to identify their individual needs and goals so that a plan can be created to focus 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.

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 the 2020 Youth CONNECT Annual Investor Report

FAQs - Youth CONNECT

How can I get more information?

Email youthconnect@cofcqld.com.au or phone 1800 314 417.

You can also download the brochure or the referrer information sheet.

How can Youth CONNECT help me?

Youth CONNECT aims to help young people at risk of homelessness identify the barriers to maintaining stable accommodation. Case managers actively work with them to address these barriers and establish some long-term skills the young person can use throughout their life Youth CONNECT provides personal and practical support to achieve these outcomes.

Will Youth CONNECT be suitable for me?

Youth CONNECT is best suited to young people who struggle to maintain accommodation without support. Youth CONNECT does not have access to emergency accommodation, so you  should have at least short-term accommodation options available.

What is expected of referrers?

For Youth CONNECT to make a timely assessment of the referral we need to be able to contact you, the referrer by phone. The referrer needs to have an understanding of the strengths and needs of the young person and the purpose of the Youth CONNECT program.

Our Youth CONNECT team will contact you to talk through the referral information to assist in progressing your referral. You will get an outcome regarding the referral from the Department of Housing and Public Works.  
 

Are you open to co-case management?

Yes. Many of the young people in the program 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.
 

Does Youth CONNECT provide emergency accommodation?

No, the program does not provide emergency accommodation.  
 

Does Youth CONNECT provide housing?

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

Who are we?

The Youth CONNECT 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.