THE Queensland Government is beginning to recognise the social and economic impact of the youth work sector on the state, according to Young People Ahead manager Alvin Hava.
Mr Hava represented the North West recently at a three-day Communities of Practice Leadership Action Network meeting and will present the results of the conference to the local sector early next month.
He said the financial saving to the Queensland economy through youth work was reportedly worth millions of dollars, with big savings added up from early illness detection, justice system diversion and education.
"Trying to get people back on the rails is not an easy or immediate task, you have to work with individuals and families for a long period of time, and it could even be a generational change," Mr Hava said.
"We need to invest in these kids for the future, for when they're parents, giving them the skills and support to invest in their own families in the future."
Mr Hava said the financial impact of youth prevention work was often not considered, but it was something the government needed to acknowledge to benefit the sector.
"The government is certainly beginning to acknowledge our work with reviews of youth services and funded programs for youth, which brings to light the work we do because it is hard work," he said.
"You really need those people who work with the kids and families that are at the end of the tether, you can't just say 'oh, we'll let them slip', or 'oh I can't do it'."
Mr Hava said he would present the information to community services in a meeting next month before collecting ideas from the group to contribute to a report for the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland.