Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Australian Youth get Reconnected with their families

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today welcomed the release of the final report that highlights the success of the Australian Government’s youth homelessness program, Reconnect – a program Labor would cut if they came to power.

The evaluation report, I’m Looking at the Future shows that the Reconnect program has been very successful in improving the stability for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness . Not only has the program improved their living situations, the program has also had a major effect in achieving family reconciliation.

“The title of the report is a quote from one of Reconnect’s young clients. It is extremely appropriate because the futures of many young people have been made much brighter with the assistance of the Reconnect program.

“The report shows that most of the young people that come to Reconnect services for help have many complex problems at home and at school. While there are no quick fixes, Reconnect significantly improves the young person’s situation.

“The number of young people living in temporary situations fell from 16 per cent to 5 per cent when the participants left the services.

“The Reconnect program also provides much needed help to keep families together. The proportion of young people living with their parents increased from 57 per cent to 62 per cent after support.

“More than 75 per cent of young people using Reconnect services and 80 per cent of their parents said they were satisfied with the services and regarded them highly.

“There are 98 Reconnect services located throughout Australia. These services have provided free assistance to around 16,000 young people and their families. An additional 10,000 young people have participated in group programs offered by the services.

“The Australian Government provides $80 million over four years to fund the Reconnect program. The program is a great example of the Australian Government’s commitment to prevention and early intervention strategies that help reduce the likelihood of long-term welfare dependency and homelessness.

“The Leader of the Opposition said this week that this type of program would be defunded in favour of public libraries. However, youth homelessness is not an issue to be addressed by the local librarian and the Australian Government will continue to fund important programs like Reconnect,” Mr Anthony said.