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Akash’s story

Young Person  

There’s an old saying in social work: if you want to help people, you have to meet them where they are. For Akash Nadar, that meant heading over to his parents’ house in the back of a police van.*

The year was 2019, and Akash’s home life, which had been difficult since he was a teenager, reached the point where the police were called to intervene. Akash, who was 17 at the time, remembers feeling anxious about the encounter. “When you see police officers, you generally have a negative connotation,” he says. “You’re like, Well shit, what did I do?” Akash was worried the police would only escalate the situation. But his feelings started to change when Meagan and Dave stepped out of the police car.

The duo, both counsellors, were taking part in the Embedded Youth Outreach Program (EYOP), which pairs YSAS caseworkers with police officers in situations involving at-risk youth. The idea was to use police call-outs as a chance to connect young people with support services they might not otherwise seek out. And with Akash, they had found the perfect opportunity to help.

I remember Meagan asking me all these questions,” Akash says. “She was like, ‘What do you think would help this situation?’” Meagan and Dave listened, and in between the police work, let Akash know about the support services he could tap into. Later, after Akash told them he’d moved out of his parents’ place and was shuffling between crisis housing options, they linked him in with a long-term accommodation solution.

Akash credits that help with putting him on the right path. “That was the first place where I actually had stable accommodation,” he says. Eventually, that stability enabled him to refocus on his studies (he’d had to drop out of high school before finishing year 12), which in turn led to him landing a job in fintech that he loves. His relationship with his parents is on the mend, too. “I think there’s more understanding from both sides,” he says. “So really, it’s all good.”

Today, Akash is so positive about his experience with EYOP he’ll tell anyone who wants to listen. In 2022, this meant telling the Minister for Youth Justice herself, along with other representatives from the State Government. “Meagan reached out and said we’d love to have you talk at this event. And I was down for it. Because I’ve been through it,” Akash explains.

“Now I can be like, This is why this work is important. This is why we need more of it. Because it will be so important for other young people.”

*Not their real name.

Akash Nadar

Former YSAS client

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