Barnardos Canberra and ACT Together
featured in ACT Budget
The ACT government has re-confirmed its commitment to supporting Barnardos Canberra and ACT Together in the delivery of services for children, young people and families in their ACT Budget 2019-20 Social Inclusion Statement – link here.
In their Social Inclusion Statement, the ACT Government commits to $21 million in Specialist Homelessness Services funding and makes mention of their continued support of Barnardos Canberra’s Our Place program and uses a case study of Barnardos Friendly Landlord Service.
Stable long-term and affordable housing provides people the opportunity to participate in the social, economic and recreational life of our city. Through social housing assistance and support for those experiencing homelessness, or those at risk of becoming homeless, the Government contributes to a safer, stronger and more inclusive community.
This year, we will deliver approximately $21 million in funding to Specialist Homelessness Services and Community Housing providers. The ACT Government has made changes to ensure tenants, especially vulnerable tenants, are better supported in the ACT’s rental market to live securely and fairly and remain protected from excessive rental increase.
The ACT Housing Strategy was released in October 2018 and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to intervening early, addressing gaps, improving pathways out of homelessness and reducing the inter-generational impacts of homelessness.
We will continue to support Barnardos to operate and provide accommodation to young people who might otherwise be homeless and help them build life skills leading to a better and positive future. The ‘Our Place’ facility in Braddon can accommodate up to 24 young people at any one time.
Safe and secure housing for young LGBTIQ+ Canberran's
A young Canberran, Ash*, was asked to leave their family home after ongoing conflict with a parent about their sexual orientation. This left them couch surfing with friends for six months. Through the ACT Government-funded OneLink hub, Ash was referred to Barnardos Friendly Landlord Service. The service matched Ash to a shared unit with another young person and assisted them to physically move their possessions into the property, as well as sourcing other essentials for living away from home, from sheets and towels to knives and forks.
With safe, affordable accommodation now secured, the Friendly Landlord Service worked with Ash towards their self-identified goals, which included increasing their part-time work to a full-time load, and saving enough money to afford to enter the private rental market. They worked together on Ash’s resume and provided funding for Ash to attend a number of short culinary courses related to their desired career path.
About six months after entering the program, Ash was successful in securing a culinary trainee-ship and moved into private rental accommodation soon after gaining full-time employment. The Friendly Landlord Service provided a rental reference and a rental ledger to the private real estate agent and Ash, now living independently, is on track to achieve their life goals.
*Not their real name.
The ACT Government also reports that in its third year of implementation, the Stepping Up for Our Kids Strategy has seen a 25 per cent reduction in the number of children and young people entering care in 2018 compared with 2017. It also sites an ACT Together case study, showcasing the important work we do in connecting kin and keeping families together:
Stepping up for our kids
The first priority of the Government’s Out of Home Care Strategy 2015-2020, A Step Up for Our Kids, is to work with families to keep children and young people safe at home. In its third year of implementation, and with additional investment in frontline Child and Youth Protection Services staff in the 2017-18 Budget, the Strategy has seen a 25 per cent reduction in the number of children and young people entering care in 2018 compared with 2017. We will keep building on this achievement by working with families in ways that respect and empower them.
In 2019-20, the innovative continuum of care approach under A Step Up for Our Kids is getting a boost to ensure that we can deliver sustainable outcomes for those children and young people who cannot safely live at home with their parents. The Government will continue to work collaboratively with foster and kinship carers and with our service partners to embed a therapeutic, trauma-informed model of care for our most vulnerable children and young people.
ACT Together - Connecting kin and keeping families together
Joseph* was born prematurely, weighing only 1.6 kilograms. His parents relinquished care of him shortly after he was born, so he was assigned a crisis carer who visited him in hospital every day and took him home when he was well enough to go.
While Joseph lived with his crisis carer, his caseworker from the ACT Government-funded ACT Together service worked with Joseph’s parents and Child and Youth Protection Services to search for a relative who could care for him long-term.
They mapped out a family tree, knowing that Joseph’s connection with his family and culture would be greatly enhanced if he could be cared for long-term by a member of the extended family.
Based on the names provided by Joseph’s father, Joseph’s caseworker searched for possible relatives in Queensland. Through this process, she discovered Joseph had an aunt on his father’s side, Kim**.
Kim’s world changed the day she got a call from ACT Together. Not only did she find out her brother was alive, but he had a baby boy who needed to be looked after. Kim and her husband said they’d do whatever it took to become Joseph’s kinship carers. They were assessed, deemed suitable and soon brought Joseph into their family.
Above Joseph’s bed, Kim has put photos of his birth parents, his crisis carer, and her family. She points them out to Joseph, saying, “these are the people who made you, these are the people who cared for you, and we are the ones who are keeping you.”
*Not their real names