[Sub ID 4383] UTLAH Support Services (Charlie Wickins)

Submission ID: 4383
Contact name: Mr Charlie Wickins
State: SA

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

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Adolescence is a critical transition period of preparation for adulthood during which time several key developmental experiences occur, it is also a time of considerable risk during which social contexts exert powerful influences. Dysfunctional home lives result in adolescents claiming Unreasonable to Live at Home Youth Allowance (UTLAH) and technically classified as homeless.
Without adult advocacy/mentoring and reliant on peer advice, ill-informed decisions are often enacted for immediate gratification, education is experienced as a lesser priority.
Dealing with disrupted living; transient accommodation, fraught relationships, depression, finances with unstructured demand, results in providers of education, job networks and support services placing them in the lowest streams with least expectation and accountability. The accumulative affect of this is chaos and withdrawal from societal spheres they perceive of as judging them harshly and not accepting of them. Bravado and seeming disregard for others in this phase of life alienates them and they become entrenched in circumstances which limit opportunity.
Through assessing UTLAH claims since 1990’s I am aware for many young females; relationships are formed, resulting in young sole parenthood and males a high proportion of unemployed males, between the ages of 22-26 years, with little change in their circumstance.

What is your idea?
The grant of UTLAH paid at independent adult rate, should be restructured so the young person is paid base rate at maximum “at home” YAL with 1-3 engagement supplements dependent upon age (<17=3, <18=2, >18=1). Supplements be paid to give independent rate but require commitment and accountability to meet self-determined life-skill, educational, social engagement activities.
Following grant, on entry to welfare system, referral is made to support worker who engages with young person when they are most receptive to complying with requirements. Engagement includes case management in determining acceptable activity, mentoring and advocacy with agencies and supportive services, as well as monitoring participation and the ongoing relevance of activity in building self-esteem. MOUs be established with alternative education, JobActive providers and Centrelink to facilitate advocacy and immediate accountability by support worker in ensuring compliance and communication pathways.
Support worker to ensure young person has access to a full range of information such as legal and civic rights, grounding good knowledge and giving confidence. Support worker to facilitate development of expressed areas of interest and expertise in accomplishment.
Focus is developing the adolescent’s interests and knowledge of resources and systems, utilising these to develop skills and confidence to achieve employment suiting their capacity, as well as acquiring life skills of community membership.