Preventing youth homelessness will be the focus in Toowoomba on Tuesday (16 October) as the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) joins University of Southern Queensland researchers, Queensland Police Service, Magistrate Kay Ryan and Mayor Paul Antonio to tackle the conversation on the risk of homelessness for young people leaving care in the region.
The QFCC will lead a discussion with key government decision-makers, service providers, researchers and law enforcement to discuss the latest research on youth homelessness and what can be done to prevent the issue.
The forum is the second in a series of regional roundtables which will bring key stakeholders together to consider collaborative options, improvements and discussions on how to tackle the issue of youth homelessness before it occurs.
The work of leading Queensland researchers will be showcased in response to the most recent 2016 Census data on youth homelessness on the topic of ‘Preventing homelessness for young people leaving out-of-home care’.
Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said that recent Census data showed there were 4,454 homeless young people across Queensland and it was important for the QFCC to work with stakeholders in regional areas to facilitate sessions to assist policy makers and the sector to explore regionally focused solutions to problems.
“Large metropolitan areas are often the focus for a topic such as youth homelessness however it is critical we work across Queensland cities, towns and regional areas to harness collective expertise and research on issues facing children and young people, like homelessness, and we address potential issues and more importantly early support,” Ms Vardon said.
“4,454 homeless young people is a significant number and there is potentially a large number of ‘hidden homeless’ young people moving from household to household who are not captured in the data.
“The QFCC hopes to identify and discuss effective ways of working together at a local level to address important issues facing children and young people and how to strengthen housing and support services for young people transitioning from care to prevent them from becoming homeless.”
The participants of today’s roundtable discussion in Toowoomba will all bring crucial expertise including researchers, law enforcement, sector leaders and of course the local council which has grassroots touch points across the region.
“Secure housing and access to support services is a key requirement for young people leaving care and it is crucial we bring key stakeholders together to improve the future for these young Queenslanders,” Ms Vardon said.
“The local commitment from the council, service providers and researchers is already very evident and I hope that this strong collaboration will facilitate further opportunities for improvements to policies, services and awareness.”
For more information and research summaries visit www.qfcc.qld.gov.au.