Homeless youth neglected

A CRITICAL report into the state's management of homeless youth has found much more needs to be done to reduce the problem.

The report, Reducing Youth Homelessness released yesterday by Anglicare, interviewed 22 young people experiencing homelessness and made 27 recommendations to the state government.

It finds that preventative interventions and services such as parenting skills programs need to be implemented to support families before their situation becomes desperate.

The report found that young people believed child protection workers sometimes made "inaccurate safety assessments" and more intervention was needed.

It said child protection services rarely provided support when young people moved into shelters.

"From the young people's perspective, it is as if the state views shelters as suitable out-of-home care," the report said.

It recommends more funding to programs that provide case-managed support to families, and increased funding to resource Child Protection Services so it can assess young people living in shelters.

Extra funding for youth support services, more psychologists and social workers in schools was also on the list in order to tackle the problem early on.

The report found that the majority of young people surveyed became homeless due to lack of parental care, abuse, alcohol and drug misuse and family homelessness.

Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma welcomed the report and said many of the recommendations had been developed, and blamed the former government for the bleak picture painted of homelessness.

Ms Petrusma said increasing affordable housing for people on low and middle incomes was one of the best way to address homelessness.

"The government provides funding of over $21 million per year to 18 organisations for specialist homelessness services," Ms Petrusma said,

"In current human services support systems it is not uncommon for a family to have 10 different case workers across government and the community sector," she said.

Greens human services spokeswoman Cassy O'Connor said support for families before a crisis hits was critical.

"Secure, supported accommodation turns young lives around," Ms O'Connor said.


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