The core of Open Family Australia’s business is the provision of assertive outreach support and intensive case management for at-risk and homeless youth - that is we engage with young people one-on-one, on their terms and in their environment, to effectively build a trusting relationship and to connect them with other youth related services. Street frequenting young people face a myriad of complex needs and our model of assertive outreach provides for long-term support to address the complex needs of each individual, rather than applying a ‘one size fits all’ approach to a larger audience. We provide comprehensive ongoing support in all aspects of a young person’s life, rather than just concentrating on one issue, supporting the young person across all of their needs and helping to integrate them back into mainstream society.
Early intervention, that is intervention before or in the early stages of homelessness, is an important component of Open Family Australia’s model of assertive outreach. Without successful intervention, at-risk and homeless young people are more likely to transition from youth to adult (chronic) homelessness. Applying strategies to overcome disadvantage while young people are still in school is the most effective form of intervention and is less intensive than trying to address the issue once a young person becomes chronically homeless.
The risk to disadvantaged young people is that without early intervention they will find it increasingly difficult to break away from a transient lifestyle and associated street culture.