FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1 November 2017
Investing in jobs, education and giving young people the option to stay in state care until 21 are key weapons in the fight against youth crime, says Anglicare Victoria.
Chief Executive Officer Paul McDonald, who will be at today’s Youth Crime Summit at the MCG, has applauded the meeting’s focus on getting vulnerable young people into work.
“Despite a jobs boom, it is tougher than ever before for a young person to find a job, let alone someone who has been in trouble with the law, or has no support after leaving foster care,’’ he said.
“In Victoria, youth unemployment is more than double the overall rate and in some of the poorest postcodes tops 17 per cent.
“We also have an entry level jobs crisis which sees the odds firmly stacked against inexperienced young people who are hoping to get their first job, with at least four people applying for every low-skill position.
“It’s a no-brainer to concentrate our efforts on education, training and jobs that give young people hope for the future and keep them out of trouble, rather than punishing them after things have gone wrong.
“We also need to stop automatically terminating state care on a young person’s 18th birthday and give all young people who need it the option of continued support until 21.
“Recent research from the US shows extending care to 21 has halved homelessness, doubled education and employment and more than halved the number of arrests among care leavers.
“Research also tells us that the current practice of cutting support at 18 in Victoria and around Australia is a fast track to dropping out of education, becoming unemployed and getting involved in crime.
“By extending care to 21, we could keep a roof over young people’s heads, keep them engaged in education and training and out of trouble.’’
· Paul McDonald is available for interview.
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