[Sub ID 4723] Intensive Care for High Need African Young People

Submission ID: 4723
Contact name: Mr Rohan Robertson
State: VIC
Contact email: rohanrob12345@gmail.com
Contact number: 0455553662

About the submitter:
Business Consultant of over 25 years in the training, education, small business and youth sectors working in partnership with the African community.

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
The focus is on enabling African Youth to seek employment and training opportunities by preventing their incarceration of within the Juvenile Justice System by means of an intensive assistance program.

Presently the Youth seem to be disengaged from mainstream society due to their belief of discrimination and, therefore, their unlikelihood of gaining mainstream employment within the system. Compounding this is a lack of adequate academic qualifications preventing them from undertaking further studies within mainstream education.

Due to their previous criminal activities, most of these youth are already disadvantaged in competing for traineeship /apprenticeship programs within their age group. Many African families exhibit minimal health literacy, including a lack of understanding of non-communicable disease (NCD), mental health issues and preventative care within a western context, and, therefore, they do not recognise the early signs of relevant problems and needs or know where to go for support.

The current problems with the African youth is multi-faceted and requires a sound preventative program to address this.

What is your idea?
To develop a specialist group that can work with African youth who are already in the Juvenile Justice system to prevent reoffending. The purpose of program – Intensive Care for High Need African young People (ICHNAP) is working with a core group of 50 youth from African backgrounds who are currently at risk of being incarcerated.

Above, the program is described as working in the juvenile Justice system; however, the purpose statement does not explain which youth are to be involved. Many youth at risk of being incarcerated are not yet within the Justice system, and our idea aims at preventing this.

The intention is to work individually with the Youth over a four week period with the purpose of preventing this. This four-week intervention is a very short time to turn around culturally based beliefs and fears.

The Program is aimed at identifying the needs and support structures required to successfully allow for engagement within either employment or education. The intention is to provide a support framework from the proposed Heidelberg site that also offers a range of specialist services catering to the participant needs.

MHWF is an organisation that seeks to improve standards in mental health training and to promote positive community participation in mental health. It’s President, Francis Acquah, has had a longstanding involvement with the Ghanaian and African communities of Melbourne and with youths in detention.

He is well-placed to coordinate and lead this project with the support of suitably qualified contracted project personnel. His role will be to identify, engage and mentor a select group of young Africans who are at risk of – or who have been in – contact with the Justice System. These young men will be provided with training and mentoring, enabling them in turn to engage and mentor small groups of young men in time, and act as ambassadors for the Program.