Home is more than a roof overhead, and homelessness is more than a lack of accommodation.
Every night in Australia approx. 44,500 young people are homeless.
Homelessness isn’t just when you’re “sleeping on the streets”, you can be considered homeless or at risk of being homeless if you’re sleeping in a car, in a refuge, staying at a mate’s place, staying in a hotel, motel or hostel or living in a tent.
Homelessness, or the risk of homelessness, significantly reduces quality of life, impacting on Education, health, employment, and relationship opportunities. The work of ending homelessness is complex. It involves:
• recognizing the circumstances and risk factors that cause homelessness
• Providing prevention and intervention services to assist people, and
• enabling people to secure and sustain accommodation for the long-term.
How powerless must a young person feel when they have to scream to be heard, or have choices taken from them? Kids in care have the least choice of all.
They have no family member to care for them, so the system places them in the care of strangers, whether that is a foster family or residential care.
Kids in care have the lowest school attendance of any at-risk group.
The one tool that can free them from a future of poverty is education, yet they have little choice in how they can access it.
Kids have taken to using their resourcefulness as they turn towards one another forming make shift surrogate families, as they battle the battle for survival.
We have kids as young as 8 who are sleeping rough as it would be called, to keep it politically correct.
These kids have often left temporary care arrangements that the department of child safety has placed them in.
Foster carers often have very little to no formal training when it comes to providing temporary care and often find that a child that may be placed with them has behavioural issues, and other issues that are high needs and complex.
Therefore foster carers are placed in a situation where they can no longer provide a high needs child or adolescent with the care they require, ringing the department and asking to have the person re housed.
I am afraid to say that no matter how much they research the yearly numbers and crunch the statistics the reality is that we are finding more and younger people who are finding their own way to live in a world that they need not be in at such an early age.
We are finding more adolescents with mental health, substance abuse issues, isolation, and other contributing factors that could and should have been avoided.
Yet nobody will stand up and own the consequences to the actions of government bodies worldwide, that have signed off on the alleged child protection policies which sadly has failed so many that it claimed to be protecting.
Adolescents finding that by the time they reach 18 they are no longer under the arrangements made for them by agencies such as the department of child protection, they find their original case workers have moved on and they are alone in a world where we the adults, the ones whose role it is to protect not neglect have failed them also by allowing the events to occur in the first instance.
Therefore all the statistics and white papers really have little to no relevance in the lives of those that the actions have created caused through alleged departments within governing bodies.
I am at a total loss as to how or where one would begin to help these kids, once they have fallen between the cracks of the system.
Where do you start?
Leaving in our wake a generation that feels isolated, rebellious, disconnected and untrusting of anybody who is willing to help them, due to how they came to be in the situation that they have found themselves in.
There is no numbers or statistics that are able to change what is, and what is simply is not good enough!