JOURNEYS HOME FINDINGS SUPPORT NEED FOR EARLY INTERVENTION

Speaking at the annual National Homelessness Conference on the Gold Coast, Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews said the report, Journeys Home Research Report Number 5, provides further evidence of the need for early intervention support for families.

“The Australian Government has a strong emphasis on family wellbeing and on ensuring children have a strong, safe nurturing environment from which they can emerge life ready.” Mr Andrews said.

“Early intervention will be pivotal to the new Families and Communities Programme in my Department.

“This initiative will include the establishment of a Families and Children Expert Panel which will advise, mentor and train service providers in local communities and help them deliver robust evidence based practices to keep our children safe, strong and well.

“The programme will work to promote strong family frameworks in which children have the essential social and emotional foundations on which to build their lives.

“This goal not only recognises one of the most fundamental of human rights, but through working to diminish the precursor trauma that can lead to homelessness it makes-economic sense as well.

“If we can do this, we can prevent some of the issues that lead to young people leaving home, rather than just helping to pick up the pieces later,” Mr Andrews said.

The report, conducted by the Melbourne Institute, presents findings from the first five waves of Journeys Home, a longitudinal study of homelessness and housing insecurity in Australia which surveyed around 1,600 income support recipients who are either homeless, at risk of homelessness, or vulnerable to homelessness.

The report found respondents who had as a child experienced violence and abuse, conflict with their parents or mental health issues were more likely to experience homelessness, and at a younger age, than other participants in the survey.

The report also found participants who experienced these issues at a young age, particularly conflict with their parents, were more likely to use illegal substances, and to have started this use at a younger age. For a copy of Journeys Home Research Report Number 5, see http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/housing-support/programs-services/homelessness/journeys-home-longitudinal-study-of-factors-affecting-housing-stability