The Outer East Children and Youth Area Partnership Co-design Sprints are in full swing at Ringwood, bringing people from the out-of-home-care system and the local community together to find new ways to improve outcomes for young people transitioning from out-of-home-care.
The day began with an ice-breaker, where people discussed why they were keen to participate, and what they hoped to achieve. Participants spoke about wanting to enact genuine change for young people, and to shake up the system.
“This is a space to forget the rule book and think outside of the box. We need to dig deeper and do things differently if we're going to change the odds for young people leaving care,” Meg Beilken, Principal Advisor for the Outer Eastern Children and Youth Area Partnership said.
Co-Design Facilitator Christian Duell said that the approach being taken is progressive for the sector. “It’s a really different way of working, particularly in this area. Bringing professionals together with young people and community members is great to see and a promising start” Christian said.
Participants also spoke passionately about the solutions they'd like to see.
“Young people want someone in their lives who is there because they want to be, not because they’re paid to be. We don’t need more databases and more programs, we just need the system to be simplified. It doesn’t need to be complicated,” a participant said.
Teams then discussed non-negotiable aspects of the solutions they would design. Key non-negotiables include that solutions will achieve outcomes, include the voice of young people, involve multiple stakeholders, and be acted on. A visual summary of the non-negotiables is provided below:
Teams also developed agreements for the way in which they will work over the coming three month period. These agreements are one way to ensure teams stay on track, given the diversity in membership. One example of a team agreement is provided below:
By far the most enlightening part of the day was when a young person shared an impromptu story about his transition from out-of-home-care. The Youth Advocate spoke from the heart, informing participants that while he grew up in the Outer Eastern area, he had to move to Frankston, away from everyone he knew, to secure housing.
“Some young people in care describe turning 18 as the worst day in their lives,” he said. “They’ve got no support. Where do you go? Things definitely need to change”.
Turning this story around for young people transitioning from out-of-home-care is our challenge, and for the next three months, we're going to tackle it head on.
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