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June 2015

Welcome to the June 2015 issue of YFX – our final issue

It’s hard to believe that this is the final issue of Youth Field Xpress following the Australian Government’s withdrawal of funding for ACYS in May. For nearly 20 years it has been one of the leading youth sector newsletters in Australia. It was founded by Anne Hugo in 1997 as one of Australia’s first online newsletters, and has become a trusted voice providing legions of youth workers, researchers and youth sector professionals with the latest news and trends in their field in order to help them in their work with young people.

Early issues of YFX focused on many of the same issues we are facing today, but the world of work and the transition to work has become much harder for young people in the past 20 years. Currently the youth sector is waiting to see how the Government’s new Youth Employment Strategy, which replaces previous schemes and is designed to get young jobseekers into meaningful employment, will pan out. In this issue of YFX we have an example of a Melbourne entrepreneur who has taken the issue into his own hands and has set up an organisation called Fingerprint Me, which works locally to assist young people struggling to get into a job (see ‘Transition and work’). Such locally based schemes that are tailored to local conditions have huge potential. The youth employment area is on the cusp of big changes – with Spanish youth advocates calling for the creation of a UN Youth Employment Decade (see ‘Transition and work’) – and we are sorry that we won’t be here to cover them for you. The ACOSS and Brotherhood of St Laurence websites are both great ways to stay on top of what’s happening in the youth employment space here in Australia.

Once again, we have a wide selection of stories for you this month that prove how much energy, enthusiasm and raw talent exists in the youth sector. Researchers are constantly investigating new and neglected youth issues. This month we feature a report about the difficulties faced by young people who have left care situations who want to go on to university study (see ‘Transition and work’) and another that looks at education barriers for young people with ongoing health problems ( see ‘Wellbeing’). With recent advances in medical care, many more young people are surviving debilitating diseases and want to focus on achieving a good education.

Kate Gross has written an illuminating piece about ACYS and its achievements for The Sector this month. Please be sure to read this and hear what some of our past and present staff have to say about their invaluable work with us.

Huge thanks go to everyone who has contributed to this newsletter over the years – including of course its founder Anne Hugo. Kate Gross has been instrumental in its creation for many years, and more recently Sue Dilley has contributed great stories. And thanks also to those at ACYS who have been the technical and design wizards behind YFX including Ann Davie and Peta Owen. Without them it would never have reached you, the readers.

As Ann Davie says in her contribution to The Sector this month, it is the sense of community in the youth sector that we feel will be lost with the demise of ACYS and its newsletter YFX. Working at ACYS I have felt strongly that a sense of connectedness was needed by the youth sector, and we feel that YFX contributed to that. We hope that there is someone out there who might take up the baton in the future.

It has been a huge pleasure and a privilege working on this newsletter; I knew little about the sector when I began at ACYS in 2009 but I have been blown away by the dedication and enthusiasm of so many in the sector and the wide range of disciplines it encompasses. Their comments and compliments over the years have been a welcome boost for us here in the ACYS offices, but particularly so in the past few weeks as we have prepared to wind down ACYS operations. Some of the YFX highlights of the past five and half years have been seeing the vast range of youth-led initiatives and programs that have eased the path for young people, and the sense of openness that now exists for young people to talk about and seek help for all sorts of problems and issues that were previously ignored or had stigma attached to them, particularly mental health and sexuality issues. YFX’s 18th birthday in late 2013 was another highlight.

Just a note on our archive of resources and the books published by ACYS: YFX subscribers will be sent an email towards the end of July about the arrangements that have been finalised for ways to access the free archive of ACYS youth resources, including past issues of YSA and YFX, and how to purchase ACYS books.

Once again, happy reading and work well with your young people.


 

From Jen Couch, the National Director of ACYS

This is my first and last contribution to YFX in my role as National Director of ACYS and I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. During my 30 years in the youth sector and academia, ACYS has consistently been part of my working life. As a young, direct service youth worker I accessed material to embed good practice into my work, information to build policies within services I worked in, accessed research to inform my own writing and as a new academic the ACYS journal Youth Studies Australia provided me with my first publishing opportunities.

By my unofficial count, I have read all 226 issues of YFX and nearly every edition of YSA. I can’t count the amount of times I have used material from Face the Facts in my work and have referred my youth work students to AYCS to access material on anything to do with young people and the youth sector in Australia.

My brief time at ACYS has given me the chance to contribute to the very important work ACYS has consistently done in sharing good practice across the sector, bringing together youth workers, researchers, young people and policymakers who may not otherwise have known about each other. This is what has made ACYS so significant: that in no matter what field I have found myself in, in terms of working with, for and on behalf of young people, ACYS was consistently there to provide reliable, robust and useful information about young people to practitioners and researchers. The impact and loss of ACYS is profound and evidenced by the many emails and letters of support we have received since the closure was announced.

There is also so much more to ACYS then I imagined. I am aware of how lucky I have been to work with the current staff, some of whom have been here for years. All are smart, talented and visionary people, who have been passionately committed to the youth sector. I would like to express my appreciation to them all on the extraordinary contribution they have made to young people and the youth sector and for helping to create a connected Australian youth sector, with breadth and depth of thinking and a commitment to good practice.

Jen Couch
National Director of ACYS

From Lindsey Moffatt, Manager of ACYS

I began managing ACYS in August 2014: a time of service transition for the clearinghouse and its staff. For many years ACYS had mainly provided the youth sector with analysis of good practice in working with young people through its journal Youth Studies Australia. But, in line with contemporary approaches to informing policy and practice across many community service areas, from February 2013 the Australian Government had required ACYS to offer more targeted analysis on emerging issues for young people for the youth sector: briefings, case studies, podcasts and webinars, which are collectively known as ACYS’s Face the Facts series.

ACYS staff have worked closely with practitioners, academics and policymakers in the youth sector on these valuable packages covering key issues such as sexual health, gambling, growing youth employment, and violence against young women. Your feedback has told us that Face the Facts has continued to offer a valuable way for practitioners, policymakers, academics and, importantly, young people themselves, based anywhere in Australia, to share their learning and good practice. It has also given the sector a chance to offer up ways forward in developing youth services, rather than just looking at the challenges to further develop policy and practice that engage young people positively. Face the Facts has helped young people and the youth sector to have a conversation about what Australia could do even better for young people by looking seriously at what the evidence tells us works.

The crucial role that such free online resources and free opportunities for contributing to such analysis and discussions play for the youth sector was brought home to me through the generous comments we’ve received from peak bodies, practitioners in youth services, social workers, teachers, community workers across Australia, researchers and from policymakers in local authorities and state government departments, since ACYS’s closure was announced in May, as a result of the Australian Government’s withdrawal of funding. One CEO running a crucial Western Australian rural youth service summed this value up well:

Without the ability to access ACYS, small organisations such as ours will find it increasingly difficult to continue to deliver … grassroots, localised responses, best practice programs … and support our youth workers, in regard to professional development, who do not live in capital cities.

The youth sector is an impressively diverse one – containing small, medium and large organisations, across the public, not-for-profit and commercial sectors all dedicated to ensuring that Australia’s young people have the opportunities they deserve to thrive, be resilient and grow positive futures. This is no mean feat in the face of sustained funding challenges, increased and diverse service demands and little time for professionals to reflect and develop skills. One of ACYS’s measurable outcomes during my time as manager has been to encourage a connected youth sector, with breadth and depth of thinking. You told us we did that well. We thank you wholeheartedly for taking the time to let us know that, and we are very proud that we’ve been able to facilitate a free online community that tangibly makes a difference to practice within the youth sector.

I want to acknowledge the dedicated team at ACYS who have brought such services to the Australian youth sector. As analysts, editors and designers, they have worked right to the last week of ACYS to ensure services are of high quality, easy to read and listen to and easy to use. And they are working to ensure that these resources will be available as a free archive.  

YFX has been a shortcut for many in the youth sector to catch up with what’s happening nationally and internationally in their field. Another one of ACYS’s outcomes has been to provide efficiency for the youth sector. YFX is an excellent example of how we’ve achieved this. The team spend at least three in every four weeks curating the highest quality and most significant news and case studies to ensure the youth sector is abreast of contemporary practice nationally and internationally, so that you don’t have to spend your time doing that. Their passion and expertise in providing this free service will, I know, be a massive loss to many practitioners, policymakers and academics.

I feel privileged to have worked to serve such a dynamic sector and hope that our archived resources continue to provide a free online lifeline to organisations and to policymakers who work for young people.

Lindsey Moffatt
ACYS Manager

Face the Facts

Violence against young women in Australia

Our Face the Facts briefing entitled Violence against young women in Australia was launched earlier this month. This briefing explores how violence against young Australian women affects victims, perpetrators and bystanders aged 12 to 25 in contexts other than the family home.

With analysis of international evidence and good practice, featuring case studies and links to further resources, including podcasts, the Violence against young women in Australia briefing demonstrates how we can all be ‘agents of change’.  We can all be partners in prevention with the youth sector, schools, workplaces, sporting bodies, families, the media, universities and countless other institutions. Only by integrating efforts aimed at individuals, relationships, organisations, communities and society will it be possible to achieve the kind of broad, deep, networked approach required to improve the safety of young women in Australia.

To see and hear more about this great resource, see Face the Facts: Violence against young women in Australia on the ACYS website.

Home ownership and young Australians

Housing affordability is a hot topic of discussion, particularly in capital cities, and it's an issue the current government sees as being particularly important to young Australians. Despite soaring housing costs, Australia has the highest rates of home ownership in the world, and young Australians continue to rate owning their own home as a key aspiration. However, there are changes to the way Australians, and in particular young people, decide whether to become home owners. The latest – and last – Face the Facts briefing, Home ownership and young Australians, looks at the factors that influence young people's views on whether to purchase a home.

In the past, the decision to become a home owner was based primarily on significant life events, such as marriage or having children. These life events continue to have some influence on decisions to 'upsize' or 'downsize' the family home. However, current research shows that other factors now play a bigger role in decision making. Young people's employment status is a key consideration. Young people continue to experience significant levels of unemployment and underemployment. Compounded with increased levels of education debt and household debt, instability of employment has had a profound effect on young people's ability to enter the housing market. Other issues that affect young people include housing affordability stress, and the mismatch between the availability of jobs and affordable housing stock.

The great Australian dream for many young Australians will continue to include owning their own home. How and when young people enter the housing market will fluctuate along with youth employment conditions and changing attitudes towards home ownership.

Our final Face the Facts briefing, Home ownership and young Australians, which explores all these issues, will be available shortly from the ACYS website

 

The Sector
ACYS and its achievements
For our final issue of YFX, Kate Gross has provided a wonderful piece that reflects on the past achievements of ACYS over the 34 years of its existence and its role in providing unbiased and authoritative information and news to the youth sector.

 

The small print

Thank you to Sue Dilley and Kate Gross for editorial input to this issue of YFX. Links were checked and correct at the time of publishing. Please report errors to the editor, Caroline Mordaunt.

Send us your news!

Please send any contributions for consideration for inclusion in the next issue of YFX to  information@acys.utas.edu.au

Join 3000+ subscribers from the sector who are kept informed about the month's goings on through Youth Field Xpress

Books

Attachment-focused trauma treatment for children and adolescents: Phase-oriented strategies for addressing complex trauma disorders

Niki Gomez-Perales
ISBN 9781138800083
Format paperback
Cost US$44.95

This book brings together two powerful treatment directions that exponentially expand the knowledge and skills available to child and adolescent trauma therapists. The book provides theoretical knowledge, clinical approaches, and specific, detailed techniques that clinicians will find indispensable in the treatment of the most challenging and high-risk young trauma victims. Also included are case studies, that show the reader how to use the techniques in real-life settings. The treatment approach described here is flexible enough to adapt to real clients in the real world, regardless of trauma and attachment histories, family and living situations, or difficulties engaging in supportive therapeutic relationships. An appendix of photocopiable worksheets gives interactive tools for therapists to immediately use with clients.

224 pp., published June 2015

Educating children and young people in care: Learning placements and caring schools

Claire Cameron, Graham Connelly and Sonia Jackson
Format paperback
Cost US$45.00

Children and young people in care rarely match the academic achievements of their peers, and policy and procedures to address this inequality have not yet remedied the problem. Drawing on ideas from social pedagogy, this book presents a new approach – learning placements and caring schools. The authors show that education and care must be considered integral to both out-of-home placements and schools. Packed with practice examples, it includes chapters on early childhood education and care, as well as alternatives to school and higher education, covering everything from birth up to the age of 25. Chapters include key points, case studies, practice points and useful resources.

256 pp., published May 2015

eGirls, eCitizens: Putting technology, theory and policy into dialogue with girls’ and young women’s voices

Jane Bailey and Valerie Steeves (eds)
ISBN 9780776622576
Format paperback
Cost CAN$54.95

eGirls, eCitizens is a landmark work that explores the many forces that shape girls’ and young women’s experiences of privacy, identity, and equality in our digitally networked society. Drawing on the multi-disciplinary expertise of a remarkable team of leading Canadian and international scholars, as well as Canada’s foremost digital literacy organisation, MediaSmarts, this collection presents the complex realities of digitised communications for girls and young women as revealed through the findings of The eGirls Project and other important research initiatives.

518 pp., published April 2015

A short introduction to helping young people manage anxiety

Carol Fitzpatrick
ISBN 9781849055574
Format paperback
Cost A$29.95

This book tells readers everything they need to know about anxiety in young people, its many causes and types, and associated disorders such as depression and self-harm. Case studies help to show the effect of anxiety in real-life situations, and also provide useful tips and advice to help young people manage their symptoms.

112 pp., published February 2015

Princess cultures: Mediating girls’ imaginations and identities

Miriam Forman-Brunell and Rebecca C. Hains (eds)
Format paperback
Cost US$40.95

Although the reign of girls’ princess culture has generated intense debate, this anthology is the first to bring together international and interdisciplinary perspectives on the multitude of princess cultures, continuously redrawn and recast by grownups and girls from the Ancien Régime to the New Millennium. Essays critically examine the gendered, radicalised, classed, and ethnic meanings of royal figures and fairytale and pop culture princesses inscribed in folk tales, movies, cartoons, video games, dolls and imitated in play and performance. Focusing on the representation and reception of the princess, this collection sheds new light on the position of princess cultures mediating the lives, imaginations, and identities of girls from toddlers to teenagers – and beyond.

288 pp., published May 2015

Social identities of young Indigenous people in contemporary Australia: Neo-colonial North, Yarrabah

Hae Seong Jang
ISBN 9783319155685
Format Hardcover
Cost US$129.00

This volume is about the social identities of young Indigenous people in contemporary Australia, based on fieldwork in the rural community of Yarrabah, in Queensland. This case study of Yarrabah is based on seventeen ethnographic interviews with women and men in their twenties. With the aim of exploring how diverse social discourses have influenced the social identities of young Indigenous people in contemporary Australia, this book represents the life histories of these young people in Yarrabah in the context of both the institutions with which they interact and the everyday shape of life in Yarrabah. This volume also provides new material for discussion of the ways in which Indigenous value systems, broadly understood by the participants to be based on collectivism, constantly come into conflict with Western values based on individualism. While the young Indigenous people of Yarrabah do continuously interact not only with multicultural Australia but also with global influences, they are constantly aware of their own distinctiveness in both contexts.

244 pp., published April 2015

Student voice and school governance: Distributing leadership to youth and adults

Marc Brasof
ISBN 9781138851542
Format Hardcover
Cost US$145.00

This volume investigates problems with the neoliberal school reform movement, and how youth–adult partnerships have resulted in more effective reforms within schools and community organisations nationally and internationally. Stemming from an eight-year ethnographic study at a civic-themed (US) public high school, the volume highlights the process of creating a school governance structure which produces active and informed citizens. Made up of executive, legislative and judicial branches, the program gives students the power to make, implement and review school policies and practices – a model that has found to effectively distribute leadership and trigger organisational learning, and is thus at the forefront of civic education.

184 pp., published June 2015

Teaching transnational youth: Literacy and education in a changing world

Allison Skerrett
ISBN 080775658X
Cost US$43.95

This is the first book to specifically address the needs of transnational youth, a growing population of students who live and go to school across the United States and other nations including Mexico and different Caribbean islands. The author describes a coherent approach to English language arts and literacy education that supports the literacy learning and development of transnational students, while incorporating these students’ unique experiences to enrich the learning of all students. Drawing from exemplary teachers’ classroom practice and research-based approaches, the book demonstrates how teachers can engage with transnationalism to reap the unique and significant benefits this phenomenon presents for literacy education. These benefits include a deeper appreciation of cultural and linguistic diversity, an increased awareness of world citizenship, and the development of globally informed ways of reading, writing, investigating, and thinking.

144 pp., published June 2015

Youth activism in an era of education inequality

Ben Kirshner
ISBN 9781479898053
Format Paperback
Cost US$27.00

Based on ten years of research by youth development scholar Ben Kirshner, this book shows young people building political power during an era of racial inequality, diminished educational opportunity, and an atrophied public square. The book’s case studies analyse what these experiences mean for young people and why they are good for democracy. What is youth activism and how does it contribute to youth development? How might collective movements of young people expand educational opportunity and participatory democracy? The interdependent relationship between young people's political engagement, their personal development, and democratic renewal is the central focus of this book. The author argues that youth and societal institutions are strengthened when young people, particularly those most disadvantaged by educational inequity, turn their critical gaze to education systems and participate in efforts to improve them.

240 pp., published June 2015

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