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Editorial : Sorry

It is just a word, and the consequences of injustice continue to be experienced by subsequent generations, but the apology was crucial. Without it, attempts to provide justice to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia ring hollow.

It has been a momentous start to the year. A new federal government, a new Minister for Youth and an apology.

Exciting times we live in! The Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies, as the only clearinghouse in Australia dedicated to collecting and disseminating research and information on the broad range of issues covered by the youth field, hopes to be closely involved in the strengthening of this nation?s commitment to the future of its young people.

In this issue of YSA, we lead with hard-hitting research which suggests that governments need to work with non-government service providers to supply sustained, committed and non-judgmental support for young people leaving state care. Unlike ?normal? parents, governments discharge their ?parental responsibilities? to the young people in their care by the time their charges turn 18. In a society where young people are increasingly reliant on their parents for support well into their early adulthood, it is essential that governments do not abandon their ?children? at this critical and often difficult time of life.

Disadvantaged and alienated young people are also the subject of the recently released third national census of youth homelessness. The authors of that report describe their research and reveal an encouraging drop of nearly 25% in the number of homeless young people. They attribute most of the decrease to the success of programs aimed at reconnecting young people with their families.

In times of increasing inequity between the financially secure and the financially insecure in Australian society, research into the financial literacy and financial management practices of young people is most topical. The apprentices who participated in this study had relatively low rates of credit card ownership, but significant rates of borrowing for items such as cars, and many had trouble managing their finances.

A second study of apprentices looks at the risk factors for quitting in the first year of indenture. Money isn?t a major factor despite relatively poor pay and less than optimal financial skills. Rather, it is factors such family support, workplace relations, maturity levels, and the type of work that apprentices undertake that participants felt determined whether they stayed or went.

The importance of emotional and psychological support is also emphasised in the fifth paper, which describes a program for adolescents with a parent with a mental illness. The combination of expert information, youth participation and peer support in a program that allows for ongoing participation provides a model for successful prevention/early intervention for young people in need of support.

Our final article looks at the role sport can play in young refugee people?s settlement in Australia. While the benefits, such as information sharing, participation and building trust, can be considerable, the authors stress that other resettlement needs, such as accommodation, education, training and family support, must not be neglected.


Sue Headley