Connections with others, and with supports and services, are necessary for participation in community life. In 2017-18, YFS programs continued to generate good outcomes by linking people with local supports and encouraging them to connect with others.
Social isolation, financial stress, youth disengagement and safety issues in the rapidly growing south-western part of Logan have been on the YFS radar for the past five years.
On 4 June 2018, some YFS staff moved to a new office in Jimboomba. Our Intensive Family Support, Beaudesert Domestic Violence and Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare teams are the first to work from this base.
Substation33 continued to provide opportunities for people to connect with others in a supportive work environment. In recognition of this, Substation33 won the 2017 Logan City Award for People with a Disability at the Breaking Barriers Opening Doors Post-School Disability Expo.
YFS’ Community Connections and Social Links services continued to provide learning and participation opportunities for people with a disability. We invested in supporting our clients to apply for the NDIS and to prepare for the planning process. As YFS will not offer Community Connections services under the NDIS, we helped eligible clients identify their best options for ongoing support.
Connection with culture is known to be a protective factor for children and young people. Most of our RailTrail trainees identify as Aboriginal, so we linked them with Mununjali Elders to learn about their cultural history and to experience traditions. For many, it’s their first exposure to a welcome to country or smoking ceremony.
Our impact is often underpinned by partnerships with others. During 2017-18 we explored further collaboration opportunities with our Scenic Rim sister organisation Beaucare to meet the needs of this growing region.
Looking forward in 2018-19
Innovation and inspiration
Clients of our Beaudesert Domestic and Family Violence service came together for an art therapy group project in March 2018. These women had emerged from crisis and were keen to rebuild their lives. The project brought them together in a safe, nurturing environment so they could express their feelings, experiences and hopes through art.
The aim was to help women share their strength and resilience, and to find inspiration. An art therapist led the creative sessions, while YFS staff organised activities for the participants’ children. Some of the artworks that resulted from the project are now decorating the walls of counselling rooms at our Jimboomba office to inspire other women in the same situation.
YFS programs have different ways to measure clients’ social connections. As shown in the graph, our Sure Steps team for example, asks clients about their sense of belonging. It is encouraging to see improvement in this measure in the early days of this family coaching program. All teams that assess connection to family, community and services noted significant improvements for clients in this area.
Across all programs, we assess clients’ social connectedness on entry and exit. In 2017-18 we noted that clients were considerably more likely to have multiple sources of support on exit than on entry (58% compared to 34%), suggesting a stronger support network and deeper social connectedness.
Sure Steps clients' sense of belonging
John and Dylan's story
“Knowing I have something to do each day instead of sitting at home and wasting my life is awesome,” Dylan said. “It’s keeping me out of trouble. I’m not running amok and being a stooge.”
“Being Aboriginal, it’s always great to get out there and get back to the environment,” John said.