Concerns youth safety net will disappear

Funding lost: Youth Connections outreach worker Shiva Gounden.

Funding lost: Youth Connections outreach worker Shiva Gounden.

WITH Youth Connections funding to be axed by December 31, the Sun asked youth outreach worker Shiva Gounden what it would mean for Parramatta.

The program, run by Youth Connections in partnership with job agency MTC Australia, is funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, with focuses on education, employment, relationship breakdowns and mental and sexual health for disadvantaged youth.

Mr Gounden, 29, who works at the MTC Parramatta branch, said loss of funds would see a youth safety net disappear.

"A vital source of funding has been lost," Mr Gounden said.

"More kids will be unmotivated to go and find support for themselves and I think the youth unemployment rate will just increase.

"We also have an alternative learning facility here for young people who cannot fit into mainstream education. When Youth Connections goes, that will go as well.

"In 2013, we looked after 214 kids in Parramatta alone.

"There have been many young people who have been involved in Youth Connections and have been able to completely change their life around and become better citizens of Parramatta.

"Last year over 30,000 young people were assisted nationally and of those, 93 per cent had an outcome, so were engaged in some form education or employment afterwards and were still engaged after six months."

Federal Labor MP for Parramatta Julie Owens described the cut as a "ridiculous decision" by federal government.

"We will see greater numbers of disengaged kids, with all the social costs that come with that like increasing crime, homelessness and mental health issues," she said. "These kids are disengaged, they're not going to go and enrol in TAFE without help."

This story Concerns youth safety net will disappear first appeared on Parramatta Sun.


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