Youth CONNECT is a program delivered by Churches of Christ in Queensland in partnership with the Queensland Government. This holistic program provides support for young people exiting statutory care who are at risk of homeless.
Youth CONNECT is one of our impact investments, which means that it aims to achieve a positive social or environmental impact, as well as a financial return. You can read more about the impact that your superannuation is having through Youth CONNECT by clicking here.
Noah* was accepted into the Youth CONNECT program in December 2019. Noah was close to exiting out-of-home care and was living with his foster carer at the time of referral. The Youth CONNECT team knew they would need to work hard to gain Noah’s trust when he was first referred. His foster carer reported Noah was anxious around new people and was dreading moving out of home.
For the first quarter of 2020, Youth CONNECT was worried they would lose contact with Noah and he would become disengaged from the program. The team texted and called but were rarely able to get a hold of Noah. However, Noah’s Youth CONNECT team was determined. The team linked in with Noah’s support networks to find opportunities to offer Noah assistance. Noah’s foster carer, his Child Safety Officer and his partner were instrumental in helping Youth CONNECT to find ways to support Noah.
Youth CONNECT was able to connect with Noah after a few failed attempts at meeting up. Noah let them know he was looking into some share house options and asked if his Case Manager might be able to come along to a property viewing for support. Not only did Noah’s Case Manager attend the viewing, but also assisted Noah in his application. Noah was successful in this and moved into his very first private rental.
During this time Noah’s relationship with his Case Manager strengthened. He reached out more often and was proactive in setting goals around what he wanted his life to look like. The next step was getting a job. Youth CONNECT was able to support Noah to enrol in his local TAFE to an automotive vocational program, where Noah thrived. He successfully completed his student placement and has since graduated.
Noah felt frustrated about having his new qualifications, but not being able to transport himself to work. Youth CONNECT worked extensively with Noah to prepare him to sit for his provisional licence through providing driving lessons, as well as sourcing additional lessons from a professional driving school. After these lessons Noah felt confident enough to sit for his test, which he passed.
Youth CONNECT then supported Noah to apply for Youth Housing and Reintegration Services (YHARS) funding to help pay for a car. The Youth CONNECT Administration Officer spent significant time liaising with both the YHARS program as well as car dealerships. In November 2020, Noah successfully purchased his very first vehicle which meant he could start his new job.
Noah reported that the process of buying a car was made much simpler with the help of Youth CONNECT. It is admirable just how much Noah has achieved in such a short time. When Noah first came into the Youth CONNECT program he did not have any source of income and had not had Centrelink set up. To see how much he has achieved over 12 months is truly inspiring.
Youth CONNECT is very proud of the collaborative work that it took to keep this young person engaged in the program. Persistence, team work and great case management led to Youth CONNECT having the opportunity to support an incredible person in a highly formative time of his life.
*Noah’s real name has been changed to protect his privacy. Images are not of the individual. Noah’s story originally appeared in the Youth CONNECT Annual Investor Report 2021 and has been republished with permission.