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YSAS welcomes ongoing commitment to critical youth outreach and early intervention services

It’s undoubtable that the demand for crime prevention and early intervention alcohol and drug services has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday’s State Budget provides an ongoing commitment for critical youth outreach and early intervention programs that help divert young people from the criminal justice system and provide a pathway to education, employment, and reconnection with family and community life.

Andrew Bruun, YSAS CEO said that when it comes to addressing serious disadvantage, early intervention is key and it’s reassuring that significant cuts have not been made to services that support young people who are most at-risk.

“It’s positive to see that in a period of budget repair that the State Government has continued its commitment to supporting some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged young people and their families.”

“We know that when we can get in early to help a young person overcome challenges in their life and build their confidence, skills and opportunity, it will result in positive outcomes. So, yesterday’s ongoing commitments to programs that provide much-needed specialist support to keep young people out of the criminal justice system and connected with their community are necessary and welcome.”

Highlights from the 2023/24 State Budget include an expansion of the hugely successful Embedded Youth Outreach Program (EYOP), operated by Victoria Police in partnership with YSAS in Werribee and Dandenong into the Brimbank, Melton and Greater Shepparton Local Government Areas to ensure young people receive referral to youth services at the first point of police contact, and avoid long-term involvement with the criminal justice system. 

At-risk young people from Pasifika and African backgrounds will also benefit from 2 years of additional funding for culturally specific support, from organisations including the Centre for Multicultural Youth and YSAS, who work directly with young people to build protective factors that prevent them from being drawn to antisocial behaviours and becoming engaged in crime. 

Preventing youth crime by engaging young people in education and employment is a proven and effective model for early intervention. The continuation Youth Crime Prevention Program is positive news for the YSAS-led Pivot partnership with Jesuit Social Services, Mission Australia, Taskforce and Whitelion that provides intensive skill-building support to young people in the Casey, Greater Dandenong and Frankston areas to overcome disadvantage and stay out of prison. 

— Ends — 

About YSAS (Youth Support + Advocacy Service)

The Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) is Australia’s largest, youth-specific community service organisation. Operating since 1998 as Victoria’s flagship Youth Alcohol and Other Drug service, YSAS now employs over 370 skilled staff across 19 sites in metropolitan and regional Victoria. While the prime focus of YSAS remains on effective Youth AOD treatment and sector leadership, the organisation also has extensive experience in providing young people and families with services that support improved mental health and improve meaningful community participation.

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