Priority 6: Services are coordinated, responsive and accessible

Services work together to effectively identify and respond to young people’s individual needs and circumstances.

Under Our promise, Your future, we are working towards more streamlined, high-quality, age-appropriate services that work in partnership with young people to improve their lives. Young people will come up against fewer barriers to accessing services that meet their needs, at the time and in the place they need them. We will also focus on communicating better with young people in ways that suit them so they know what services are available and how to access them.

This strategy recognises that young people want services that understand that their needs are unique and shaped by multiple interconnected factors, lived experience, context and social dynamics. Young people want culturally inclusive and safe services that see and respond to them as a whole person. Across government and the sector, we will improve the flow of relevant information between child, youth and adult services so the workers who support them quickly get to know their history, their goals and the agreed plan forward. Young people will have smoother and safer entry points through the places where they spend time. To do this, we know that self-determination must be the basis of everything that we do with Aboriginal young people.

Our promise, Your future focuses on prevention first. This strategy aims to better focus and coordinate our collective efforts to intervene before problems occur, or step in early where needed, to steer young people away from crisis services and reduce exposure to trauma and harm.

‘Provide services for kids on an ongoing basis. Services are provided on short term-contract basis, which are disruptive for kids, parents and communities.’
– Worker, regional Victoria

‘Regional funding needs to be provided equitably. Distance from metropolitan Victoria does not seem to factor into equitable distribution of funding to regional catchments.’
– Worker, regional Victoria

Our commitment to young Victorians under priority 6 is …

6.1 Explore changing the Victorian Government’s age definition of youth by further considering the needs of young people from 10 years of age, including the potential impacts to service providers and the support needed for rollout.

6.2 Improve how we collect data on outcomes for young people, including through funded services, programs and research. This will help us design better prevention and early intervention initiatives.

6.3 Explore how we can improve the children and families service system to:

  • help young people and families use the system and find what they need more easily
  • improve sector and community referral to the right help for children and families in need.

6.4 Improve the way child protection, family violence, sexual assault and child and family services work together through the Roadmap to Reform.

6.5 Pilot a new approach, Putting Families First, for families to try wraparound supports and models of care across the health, human services and justice service systems.

6.6 Partner with the Koorie Youth Council, in consultation with the First People’s Assembly of Victoria and other relevant Aboriginal organisations, to develop a Victorian Aboriginal youth engagement framework led by Aboriginal young people that embeds the principles of self-determination.

6.7 Partner with young people to review the Victorian Government’s Youth Central website and social media channels to improve communication with young people and provide a one-stop-shop for young people to get information about services and supports.

6.8 Promote increased youth sector collaboration by:

  • supporting communities of practice
  • sharing tools and resources
  • promoting evidence and evaluation.

‘The right organisations need to be funded … [Some] is great for locally born and bred Victorians where clinicians have a more westernised style of approaching therapy. What we need is funding provided to a plethora of organisations outside of these typical mental health ones. We want young migrant people to seek help in a way that they are comfortable seeking help, with the right people who they can vibe with. I hear this issue daily. We refer them; however, they never stay engaged because it’s difficult to resonate on a level where the thinking between the clinician and the young person do not align.’
– Survey respondent, 22–25 years old

Case study: Delivering an integrated, place-based approach to prevention

Foundry, Canada

Foundry offers young people aged 12 to 24 health and wellness resources, services and supports – online and through integrated service centres in communities across British Columbia.

The centres provide low-barrier, integrated services for young people and their families in a ‘one-stop shop’ setting. In addition to offering primary care, social services, peer support and system navigation assistance, Foundry also offers mental health and substance use services through a co-created integrated stepped model of care. Foundry’s focus on reaching young people earlier by providing prevention-oriented interventions, supporting families and matching the level of service to the level of need is providing young people with easy access to care.

Part funded by the Government of British Columbia, each Foundry centre is supported by strong partnerships across government and local service providers, building on community-level collaborations to promote prevention and early intervention.