Youth at Risk (2005 - 2009)
Youth at Risk was the first strategic initiative ACF undertook. It had the specific aim of expanding opportunities for disadvantaged young people in danger of dropping out of the education system. It focused on ensuring these young people have continued access to vocational training and employment.
A pool of funds was created utilising funds from a number of donor sub-funds with a commitment to this area, as well as from ACF’s own resources. In order to develop our knowledge of the issues affecting young people, we brought together a working group of organisations with expertise in youth policy and on the ground service delivery.
With help from the working group, ACF ran a donor forum providing an overview of issues facing young people, and showcasing five projects active in the areas of employment, education, training and community involvement pathways for marginalised young people. Following this session proposals were sought from those organisations which had presented at the forum, for projects addressing these issues. Together with a range or other community sector, government and philanthropic organisations, known as the Youth Collaboration, ACF became involved in the development and funding of a project which was designed to improve the way that young people, particularly those leaving school early, can make a successful transition to economic independence.
Youth researchers between 15 and 19 years of age were trained and employed at three sites – Braybrook-Maidstone in the Western suburbs, Frankston and Shepparton – to gather feedback from other young people on their experience of transition pathways before and after they leave school. The information that they collected was used to inform local service providers and government departments about how they can be more responsive to young people’s need to navigate service systems and access support programs.