The Geelong Project

Your donations have enabled the Give Where You Live Foundation to provide a $140,000 Innovation Grant to Barwon Youth, Child & Family’s ‘The Geelong Project’ to employ an Early Intervention Response Worker to work with young people and families identified at risk in participating schools. The worker will provide outreach screening, assessment and support to over 53 young people and 47 family members or significant others .

The Geelong Project aims to reduce the growing issues of youth homelessness and early school leaving across the Greater Geelong area. Using indicators collected from a school population survey (Australian Index of Adolescent Development), to identify, screen and provide a response to young people and their families where risk factors leading to homelessness and/or early school leaving are present.

“Caitlin” (12 year old) was identified through The Geelong Project’ as being at risk of homelessness. Further assessment from the worker unpacked a long history of school disengagement, criminal offences and an unstable/ unsafe home environment; this lead to Caitlin’s sister “Haylee”, herself only 21 years old, recently receiving guardianship of her sister.  The Geelong Project worker engaged with Caitlin and Haylee to identify what supports were required for the family unit. Goals and support plans were established relating to household routines and boundaries, conflict between the sisters, re-engagement with school and strategies to support Caitlin’s goal to not re-offend.

In addition to the above supports, brokerage was accessed to purchase some bedroom furniture – an important process for Caitlin in feeling secure that she has a stable, permanent home. Further social engagement and food security programs were accessed for Caitlin over the school holidays, who is thriving in her new environment and looking forward to returning to school in 2016.