A ground-breaking new program to support young people leaving out-of-home care is set to kick off after attracting more than $14.2million from investors in Australia’s biggest Social Impact Bond.
COMPASS, developed by Anglicare Victoria and VincentCare, will provide young people leaving care with housing and specialist support to help them make a successful transition to adult life and prevent youth homelessness.
The program will start in Melbourne’s west next week before expanding into the northern suburbs and Bendigo next year and will help 200 young people over five years.
COMPASS will support young people leaving foster, kinship, and residential care – linking them with education, training and job opportunities while aiming to boost their health and wellbeing.
The Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos and Treasurer Tim Pallas launched COMPASS in Footscray today.
Anglicare Victoria Chief Executive Officer Paul McDonald said the launch was a historic moment for young people leaving state care, and an innovative solution to tackling a tough social problem.
“Investors who have supported COMPASS have invested in creating a better future for young people leaving care,’’ he said.
“This is a bold new approach that brings together investors, community organisations and government to drive better outcomes for young people.
“Young people leaving care deserve every opportunity to fulfill their potential but face so many more barriers to success than other young people in the community.
“COMPASS will give them the support they need to have every chance of success in education, work and life.’’
VincentCare CEO John Blewonski said providing stable housing and ongoing support services for care leavers is a critical part of breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
“Providing a safe, secure home removes the uncertainty many young people face when they leave care and puts them in the best possible position to thrive and develop the skills they need for the future,’’ he said.
“Evidence shows that having appropriate housing and individualized support, enables people to look after their health, find a job or get involved in education and training. It empowers them to set goals for their future and achievement and reduces the risk of ending up in the criminal justice, health and homelessness systems.”
The success of COMPASS will be measured against targets of reduced homelessness, improved health and reduced involvement with the criminal justice system. The program outcomes represent tangible benefits for participants as well as economic returns for government and other program funders.
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