29 November 2022

Young people need support and opportunities to forge a sense of purpose.

Shannon has long blonde hair and is wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and glasses. She is standing next to a woman with short dark brown hair who is wearing a blue shirt. Both are smiling at the camera.

Shannon* is a proud Aboriginal woman and graduate from the Youth Advocate Program (YAP).

YAP is a relationship-focused program where advocates provide intensive support to young people with complex needs and their families. It can also help young people who have interactions with the criminal justice system to break the cycle of offending and pursue positive personal goals.

A number of people stand outdoors watching a man perform a smoking ceremony.

Shannon is a keen artist and worked with her Life Without Barriers advocate on a number of goals, including developing her artwork and knowledge of marketing and business management.

With support from the YAP team and other partners, Shannon had the opportunity to design a logo for an international company as part of their Reconciliation Action Plan. The company was so impressed with Shannon’s talent that they are supporting her in developing her online art business.

Payment for her artwork has allowed Shannon to buy a car and is paving the way for her economic independence.

Shannon and a woman with blonde hair standing next to each other, looking at a booklet with Aboriginal artwork.

More about the Youth Advocate Program

  • Around 90% of participants in the Sydney program this year achieved their accommodation goals.

  • By the end of the program, 90% of participants had a job, and they all had no further contact with the criminal justice system.

Life Without Barriers advocates for the extension of support for young people in out of home care to the age of 21, so young people have support while they learn the skills needed to transition into adulthood. We welcomed the commitment to extend care for young people to 21 years made by the Queensland and New South Wales governments.

Extending care to 21 and providing support through specialised programs like YAP can remove systemic barriers young people face and increase their ability to thrive as they continue their journey to adulthood.

Find out more about Life Without Barriers' work supporting young people transitioning out of care in our Annual Report 2021-22.

A person's story is precious. We take storytelling seriously. Sometimes people are able to tell their own story, and we love that. We always make sure they give us their ok, and we will always honour the trust placed in us to bring their story forward.

*Names have been changed to protect the children in this story.

Child, Youth and Family

Our Foster Care, residential care and after care services provide a safe and supportive environment where they can heal and grow.

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