Minister for Human Services
Youth at Risk Strategy Launched
7 June, 2017

Early intervention and a whole of government approach to helping “at risk” young Tasmanians are the key drivers of a new strategy launched today.

With the Budget back in balance, the Hodgman Liberal Government is able to invest more in services to help those in need, including young people between the ages of 10 and 17 years who can be among our most vulnerable.

Our Youth at Risk Strategy is about doing all that we can to address the complex needs of young people who may have experienced abuse or neglect, or who are struggling with homelessness, mental health, or drug and alcohol issues.

By taking a collaborative approach across government and non-government services, we can do better in responding to their safety and rehabilitative needs.

We know young people at risk are more likely to become involved in the youth justice system and from there have poor outcomes in life, and that’s why early intervention is so critical.

The strategy has seven key areas:

  1. Build a strong foundation for the Youth at Risk service system through the development of a vulnerability assessment tool and the formation of agreed outcomes based on the Child and Youth Wellbeing Framework.
  2. Provide timely and appropriate safety and supports for young people in out of home care and those engaged in the Youth Justice System.
  3. Increase awareness and create alternative pathways within the homelessness and housing system for young people at risk.
  4. Improve education and employment opportunities by providing flexible learning alternatives for vulnerable young Tasmanians.
  5. Improve the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable young people through youth focussed drug, alcohol and mental health services.
  6. Create safe and inclusive communities for young people.
  7. Establish system wide overarching support for the youth service sector.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is now developing an implementation plan, which will incorporate other across-government initiatives announced in the 2017-18 State Budget. These include the $25 million youth employment strategy, a $17.8 million investment in education to improve student wellbeing and a range of State Growth youth engagement and employment partnerships.

The 2017-18 Budget also includes funding in DHHS for initial actions identified in the Youth at Risk Strategy.

In a first for Tasmania, we have committed $3.2 million over four years to establish a Moonah Youth at Risk Centre for Young People aged under 16 years.

A further $2.4 million will go to Save the Children to continue its youth justice diversion programs.

The strategy also aligns with and builds upon other important initiatives including our redesign of Child Safety Services, our nation-leading Family Violence Action Plan, Joined Up Human Services, Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy and the Youth Suicide Prevention Plan.

I thank all involved in the development of the Youth at Risk Strategy, including government and non-government service providers and young people themselves.