Youth Homelessness: Case Studies of the Reconnect Program

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The recognition of youth homelessness as a social problem has been well documented over the last 20 years and more. Recent approaches to the problem put particular emphasis on prevention and early intervention strategies. Integral to such approaches are the supply of income transfer payments and the provision of services aimed at the target group. The case studies in this research look at one such initiative aimed at youth homelessness, the Reconnect program supported and administered by the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS). Introduced in 1999, the Reconnect program provides for the development of community-based early intervention services aimed at family reconciliation for young people and their families. The research comprises a study of the support provided under the Reconnect program to young people and the families of young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The project investigates the articulation of and relationship between programs providing different types of support to young people at the local level. The work studies the co-ordination of support to different groups and to young people where the need is for support in crisis, or where there is a need for longer-term support. The study was designed to explore the initial development of the Reconnect program by focusing on the system of support for young people as it is operating in four localities (see below for a description of the four areas). The choice of four localities enabled the research to examine the development of services in urban, rural and regional areas within two states and to compare of services at different stages of development. The project also provides information about the co-ordination of support provided by commonwealth and state authorities. This research thus provides feedback at an early stage of the life of the program about the extent to which the key result areas of Reconnect are being addressed (Prime Ministerial Youth Homelessness Taskforce, 1998).1 Although this investigation is primarily exploratory, it will contribute to an understanding of the program's role in building community capacity for early intervention with regard to youth homelessness.
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Evans, Ceri
Shaver, Sheila
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