Overview of Youth Services
In this article:
The City of Casey will work in partnership with young people,families and the community to support and encourage young people to reach their full potential.
The City of Casey has one of the largest youth populations of any local government area in Australia. The Casey youth population aged 10 to 25 years is currenlty at 59,953 making up 24% of the total Casey population. It is forecasted that Casey's youth will continue to grow from its current level to approximately 72,598 by 2021.
Young People in Casey – Some useful statistics
- Approximately 59,953 young people are aged 10–25 years
- Young people make up around 23 per cent of the City’s population
- Number of 10-14 year olds is forecast to increase by 60 per cent between 2001 and 2016
- Number of 15-19 year olds is forecast to increase by 58 per cent between 2001 and 2016
- Number of 20-24 year olds is forecast to increase by 10 per cent between 2001 and 2016
Due to the physical size of the municipality, the diversity of its residents and the accelerated growth being experienced there are distinct areas of disadvantage that relate to young people. In particular limited transport networks and a lack of ability to access vital community support services. Due to the rapid growth, population is expected to peak at 451,000 within the next two decades, making the municipality as big as Canberra today.
Casey experiences education and employment outcomes lower than the state average with the South East Local Learning and Employment Network (SELLEN) environmental scan suggesting that there are a number of young people who are disengaged from employment, education and training. On the 2001 Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSED) Casey is ranked 25 out of 78; this is 27 places higher in ranking since 1996 highlighting that the City of Casey has become significantly more disadvantaged as it has grown in population.
The growth in the number of young people places enormous pressure on Council to deliver adequate services and in particular early intervention and prevention programs in a current and contemporary manner.
Parents, peers, school, the community and particularly government have a key role in ensuring support is available for young people to help them through these challenging years.
Generalist Youth Support Services
The City of Casey Youth Services team has 18 full and part-time staff providing generalist youth service that works with young people aged 10 to 25 years who live, work, study or have strong links to the Casey community.
To understand the needs of young people living in Casey and how to address them, it is important to understand the factors which contribute to young people living successfully in their communities. Middle childhood through to adolescence is a time of significant emotional, physical and intellectual change, with potential for fluctuations in health and wellbeing. Parents, peers, school and community in general are important for all young people and play a significant role in young people’s perceptions of themselves and their health development.
Healthy youth development can be achieved through promoting protective factors in young people’s lives and reducing the impact of risk factors. The Risk and Protective Behaviour framework is well accepted for understanding the factors that influence young people’s behaviour and is based on 20 years research into
adolescent behaviours (Hawkens Catalano, 1990, Bond et al, 1999). This framework has been accepted by the Department of Human Services for developing a profile of young people and targeting services.
Generalist youth support services provide an important universal service base for young people, building on the continuum of care from the early years, through the middle childhood years to adolescence. The services support the healthy physical, social and emotional development of all young people, enhancing protective factors and working with young people to develop their strengths, thus minimising the impact of risk factors. Importantly, generalist youth services provide a strong link to the range of other more intensive support services for young people and frequently facilitate partnership arrangements and networking between service providers. The provision of these services is critical for the development of an integrated, coherent and systematic approach to providing services for young people.
Casey Youth Services provides a continuum of evidence based generalist youth services to support young people and their families through:
- Early Intervention
- Secondary Intervention Services
The diagram illustrates the prevention – early intervention – secondary – tertiary service continuum. In this diagram, generalist youth services fall within the primary/early intervention and secondary level.
Framework for Understanding Services
Source: Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2005
Research underpins Casey Youth Services provision of prevention, early intervention and secondary services. Best practice and service effectiveness indicators provide a guide to the program design. Activities and programs should:
- Actively empower citizenship
- Enhance self identity, self worth self reliance and self confidence
- Enhance skill development
- Strengthen engagement with family and contribution to community
- Provide practical support and guidance, advocacy and referral
- Build community connectedness
- Strengthen engagement with education, training and employment
- Enhance membership and leadership of teams and groups
- Provide participation in different and challenging activities and experiences
- Services should be visible, accessible and flexable
- Use a youth participation model
- Foster acknowledgement and acceptance of differing views and ways of doing things
The programs are premised on services working predominantly with young people but where possible in the context of their families. Some services provide specialised activities targeting specific groups, such as people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CaLD).
Casey Youth Services operates within a youth participation and access framework which works within a community strengthening framework to improve participation of young people in community life.
Casey Youth Services strives to continuously grow and improve is services to young people and is committed to:
- Evaluate and monitor programs against agreed outcomes
- Provide training and support to staff to develop evidence-based interventions as well as reflection on their own practice
- Employ a process of action-reflection and continuous improvement in service provision
Code of Ethical Practice
The City of Casey Youth Sevices commits to working ethically with young people and has adopted the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVIC) Code of Ethical Practice for the Youth Sector.
City of Casey Youth Services Programs
Youth Information Centres
The City of
Youth Counselling & Support
The City of Casey's Youth Support Program is a free servcie that provides young people with someone to talk to and assist them when things are difficult to manage. The program has three full time staff who provide generalist short term counselling for up to five sessions and longer term support for those who need it.
Youth Program & Events
There are lots of different ways that young people can get involved in their community. Youth Programs and events provide opportunities for young to attend events, join a committee, become a volunteer or participate in a program. Activities and programs include:
Casey Youth Ambassadors which provides Civic engagement, leadership and volunteering opportunities for young people .
Multi-Cultural Youth Development, this program works closely with the CADL community groups to identify gaps and to build stronger links with council. Young people are involved in a board range of programs including programs aimed at increasing leadership and civic engagement.
SPECTRUM Entertainment is a FReeZA Youth Advisory Commitee, who organise all age events. The Advisory Commitee undertake training in event management, promotion and marketing, budgeting, band liaision and public speaking.
FReeZA - Drug and alcohol free music and cultural events for young people aged 12-25 yars, i.e Battle of the Bands (average six events per year).
Australia Day Study Tour is an annual award presented to young people in year 11 or equivalent age to learn about government, policies, community and civic engagement.
Teenage School Holiday Program. Each school holidays the City of Casey offers a range of activities and programs for young people aged 12-17 years.
- Casey Creations is a creative art competition that recognises young people's artistic talents in various art forms. This is an engagement and participation program and aims to show case the talents of young people to the community.
- Fresh Words is a competition launched in 2008 and is an opportunity for writers to showcase their work and potentially win great prizes. This is an engagement and participation program and aims to show case the talents of young people to the community.
- Men's and Women's Mentors Breakfast. These events provide an opportunity for young people in year 11 (or age equivalent) to connect with positive male and female role models, who are successful or leaders in their chosen career.
- Student Leaders Forum. In March each year the City of Casey hosts a reception to acknowledge the newly appointed "School Captains and Leaders" of all schools within the City of Casey.
- Casey Schools on Stage. Up to 8 local schools select and present two songs from their school musical on song of which is a chorus number. The school presentations are judged with the winner being declared Casey Schools on Stage champion. This is an enagement and participation program and aims to show case the talents of young people to the community.
In Schools Programs
The City of Casey offers a variety of personal development programs for young people of secondary school age. These programs can be provided to schools or other agencies. Most programs are free others on a fee for service basis. Topics can include communication skills, social skills, self esteem and leadership
Youth Transition and Development
The Youth Transition and Development teams offers activities for young people aged 10-15 years of age. The program acknowledges the importance of the transition phases in young people's lives and is focused on the transition phase from primary to secondary school and the early years in secondary school. Activities include:
- After school fun and recreation activities
- In school personal development programs - Primary schools only
- Family camps such as the "girls weekend away"
- Family fun days and events