A local organisation has received a significant funding grant to offer an early intervention program for at risk youths.
Mission Australia Whyalla will share in $450,000 with Mission Australia Port Augusta to deliver a Youth Offending Prevention Program (YOPP) in the community.
The outreach service consists of early intervention workshops which offer practical, educational and therapeutic support activities for young people at risk of being involved in criminal activity and disengaging from the community or school.
Mission Australia program manager Jodie Poschkens said the voluntary program aimed to break down the barriers vulnerable young people were facing and support them to seek positive pathways.
“Our aim is to encourage young people to be engaged in school and become a positive part of the community."
The program engages youths and their family to work in partnership with Mission Australia in an effort to promote protective factors to reduce the risk of youth offending.
“The program has been trialled in other parts of the state, and has seen positives outcomes such as increased school participation, regular attendance in community activities, and no further offending,” Ms Poschkens said.
Case manager Shaun Rouse said the funding would support Mission Australia Whyalla to deliver mentoring, one-on-one counselling and practical or therapeutic activities for young people.
“It’s about utilising their strengths and referring them to positive recreational activities that are focussed on developing their social skills, communication, problem solving, team building and life skills as well as building their confidence and self-esteem,” Mr Rouse said.
Communities and Social Inclusion Minister Zoe Bettison said the Special Community Youth Grants had been awarded to organisations to tackle serious social problems facing young people.
“Specifically, they have been awarded to organisations working with young people who are - or who are at risk of becoming - involved with the youth justice system,” Ms Bettison said.
“Young people who enter the youth justice system not only affect their own lives but the lives of their families, friends and other members of their community.
“These programs will aim to build family resilience, coping and life management skills, including parenting to improve support for young people.”
Minister for Regional Development Geoff Brock said the grants would help develop communities to better support vulnerable young people and their families.
“Young people living in regional South Australia often face specific challenges due to the isolation of their communities and by not having access to resources that their city counterparts have,” Mr Brock said.
“The grants will help organisations reach out to these young people and hopefully prevent them from making poor lifestyle choices they will one day live to regret.
“Research shows that early intervention is often the key to helping young people who are at risk.”