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Youth work & the sector


Data download: What’s really happening with youth


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A recent issue of Inside Story carried a refreshing article about Australia’s young people, full of statistics to back its claims, which concluded that today’s young people score substantially better than many previous cohorts across a number of measures.

The article, which was actually an edited version of a speech given by Andrew Leigh at the National Youth Conference (held in Canberra during April), used Australian Bureau of Statistics figures to draw comparisons between young people in 2023 and those from earlier years. The author, who is a politician and economist, found that young people today are smoking less, drinking less, better educated, using fewer drugs, having fewer babies as teenagers, and committing fewer crimes than in the past. He points to interesting work by Abigail Wills from Oxford University, who says that ‘the anxiety about young people today also stems from changes in how we think about their role in the community’. It seems that because young people are starting work later, people are finding it hard to recognise their economic value to society and the ways in which they contribute. Wills says that people need to ‘start thinking about ways of improving adult perceptions of the young, rather than thinking up panic solutions to an imaginary cataclysm of declining morals’.

The article goes on to suggest ways in which young people themselves can contribute to improving the ways adults perceive youth. You can read the full article, entitled ‘Reckless beyond words?’ here.

Source:Inside Story (newsletter produced by the Swinburne Institute for Social Research), 12 May 2023.

May YFX conference round-up




May 2023

Positive Schools: Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference

21 May–12 June 2023, Several venues
Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney

Visit the Positive Schools website


JUNE 2023

Law and Justice for Multicultural Young People

1 June 2023, Sydney
A forum to discuss issues that young refugees and migrants face when dealing with police and the justice system.
For more visit the website

NSW Youth Health 2023 Showcase

4 June 2023, Redfern, Sydney
A forum to examine the success of the NSW Youth Health Policy 2011–2023. Young people are encouraged to attend.
For more visit the website

3rd International Conference of the International Childhood and Youth Research Network (ICYRNet)

10–12 June 2023, Nicosia, Cyprus
The theme is ‘Theory and method in child and youth research’.
For more visit the website

Suicide and Self-harm Prevention Conference 2023

24–26 June 2023, Cairns, Queensland
One of the conference themes is: ‘New concepts, research and practices in suicide prevention – Youth’.
For more visit the website

No 2 Bullying Conference

29–30 June 2023, Gold Coast

This well-organised conference has keynote speakers locked in.
Visit the No 2 Bullying website

Regional Youth Development Officers Network (RYDON) Youth Conference

29–30 June 2023, Newcastle

The theme is ‘Stuff That REALLY Works’. The conference will explore programs, strategies and ideas for working with young people.
Visit the RYDON website

Australian Youth Mentoring Conference 2023

29–30 June 2023, Canberra

This year’s theme will be ‘Home. School. Work.’
Visit the Australian Youth Mentoring Conference


July 2023

24th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference, ‘No Frills’

6–8 July 2023, Sydney

The themes for this year’s conference will be ‘Youth, Pathways, and Skills’. Registrations are now open. 
Visit the National Vocational Education and Training Resource Conference website

Hear Our Voice! Young People Changing the Out-of-Home Care System

8 July 2023, Sydney
This event is organised by CREATE and will feature young people in a panel discussion about changes they would like implemented.
For more visit the website

19th Conference of the Australasian Human Development Association

8–11 July 2023, Wellington, New Zealand

The theme will be ‘Growing healthy children, young people and families’.
Visit the Conference of the Australiasian Human Development Association website

International Youth Media Summit

27 July–7 August 2023, Belgrade, Serbia
This summit promotes the part young people can play in developing sustainable living into the future.
For more visit the website


August 2023

Tasmanian Youth Conference

6–7 August 2023, Launceston
This conference will provide an opportunity for the broader youth sector to come together with young people.
To submit an expression of interest, visit the Tasmanian Youth Conference website. Registrations will open in May.

Australian YouthAOD Conference

13–14 August 2023, Melbourne
This conference is for workers who are interested in the best possible care for young people experiencing drug and alcohol problems.
For more visit the Australian YouthAOD Conference website


September 2023

Young people and the law: International approaches to care, corrections, and intervention

21–23 September 2023, Prato, Italy
This conference is being organised by the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Swinburne University, but will be held in Italy at the Monash University Centre, Prato, Tuscany
For more visit the website

Australian Social Policy Conference: Rights and entitlements in times of austerity

28–30 September 2023, Sydney

The call for papers for this conference closed on 20 April.
Visit the Australian Social Policy Conference website


October 2023

Youth for Change Conference

2–4 October 2023, Brisbane
This is the Create Foundation’s conference, which is open to all children and young people in out-of-home care as well as carers, government employees and anyone else working in the sector.
For more information visit the website. Grant applications for young people to attend the conference close on 1 July.

Third International Youth Mental Health Conference

8–10 October 2023, Montreal, Canada

Visit the IAYMH website


November 2023

Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference

9–10 November 2023, Melbourne
Youth unemployment will feature prominently in this event, which is an initiative of the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association.
For more information visit the website. Abstracts close on 30 July.

Youth Health Conference 2023

11–13 November 2023, Melbourne
Abstracts for this conference are now open and must be submitted online by 30 June.
For more information visit the website.


CFCA offers resources to support those who work with CALD young people


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Throughout April and May, Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) released a series of resources to promote good practice among professionals who work with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) young people.

The resources, made available on the CFCA website, include:

  • The CFCA practitioner resource Working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) adolescents;
  • The webinar Good practice when working with young people with refugee and migrant backgrounds, presented by Nadine Liddy and Heather Stewart on 13 May;
  • A series of short articles that outline recent research and programs relating to CALD young people; and
  • An infographic that outlines privacy, referrals and duty of care information for young people.

Outstanding among these resources is an item titled, 'Young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds lead the way in their own sexual health education'.  This looks at an initiative of the Multicultural Health and Support Service called H3 Express that uses 'hip-hop, song, spoken word and dance' to spread sexual health messages to newly arrived young refugees.

The website where these resources are located also includes links to a directory of key organisations and peak bodies across Australia that support professionals who work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Click here to visit the full range of CFCA resources on this topic.

Source:CFCA News, 22 April 2023

Reactions to the 2023 Federal Budget from the sector


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Now that the youth and social welfare sector have had time to digest the latest Federal Budget, most have released statements outlining their support, or otherwise, for its planned measures.

Below is a round-up of the responses most relevant to the youth sector, along with some related media articles:

Youth Affairs Coalition of Victoria (YACVic)

YACVic welcomes the new Youth Employment Strategy, but like many organisations, points out that, as this won’t start until December 2023 it has left a large cohort of young people in limbo. Youth Connections, which the new strategy encompasses, was defunded in December 2014, so young people are having to wait for a year while the new services are put in place.

For more, go to the YACVic website.

Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT)

YNOT also ‘cautiously welcomes’ the Youth Employment Strategy, but says that it is unclear how social and personal barriers preventing youth from engaging in employment and study will be addressed.

Read the media release. 

Youth Affairs Network of Queensland (YANQ)

The YANQ Facebook page has a number of strongly worded postings about the Budget.

Youth Coalition of the ACT

The Youth Coalition of the ACT has a round-up of media reaction to the Budget.  

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)

ACOSS says the Budget fails the fairness test, although the Government has listened to the community’s concerns about the closure of Youth Connections.

Pro Bono

Pro Bono says the Youth Employment Strategy has been described by the not-for-profit sector as an ‘encouraging move’.

Mission Australia

Mission Australia also welcomes the Youth Employment Strategy, and the fact that some of the punitive measure that affected youth in last year’s budget have been wound back (such as the six-month waiting period for those under 30 to receive welfare payments) though it is still unhappy with the one-month wait for those under 25 to receive welfare payments.

Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL)

The BSL says that the new Youth Employment Strategy is a step in the right direction towards solving the youth unemployment problem, but also has a warning about the one-month waiting period for those 25 years and under to receive welfare payments.

St Vincent de Paul

In a strongly worded statement St Vincent de Paul says that the Budget ‘persists in putting the book into…young people’.  

Media items about the effect of the Budget on young people:

Article from The Australian about new scheme to replace Youth Connections – will be too late for some.

Article from The Australian about waiting one month for welfare payments.  

The Conversation Federal Budget round up.

Read more