In 2010-11, further funding was granted for the YSC to support young people aged 14 - 17 years who were at risk of disengaging, or who are newly disengaged, from learning, to successfully transition into and through the Senior Phase of Learning.
From day one, the development of the YSC program was based upon the assumption that services located in the community are well positioned to fulfill a coordination and school-community linking role at the client and local community level. This has been consistently confirmed through several reviews of the program over the past 10 years.
Youth Support Coordinators have achieved remarkable outcomes. The 2009 evaluation of the (then re-named) YSC Initiative (YSCI) found a very high level of satisfaction amongst stakeholders regarding the program. During 2010, the 105 Youth Support Coordinators undertook 5 524 instances of direct support to individual young people. They facilitated 793 groups, which involved a further 16 405 young people. YSCs also coordinated 554 community projects.
In 2013, one of the most successful youth programs in Queensland was effectively dismantled by the LNP State Government.
In 2011-12, the YSCI (managed by the Department of Communities) was allocated a total of approximately $16 million - $11 million from the Education Department and $5 million from the Department of Communities. In 2012-13, the Department of Communities' $5 million was returned to Treasury, and the Education Department's contribution was reduced to $7.4 million. Moreover, this $7.4 million is not allocated to the existing YSCI - the Minister has reallocated these funds to schools to use at their own discretion, with no guarantee that the funds will assist young people who are disengaged from learning.
This fails to recognise the unique capacity for community-based services to support youth people who are disillusioned with the education and training systems and the long term consequences of allowing these young people to disengage from learning.
The Queensland Government reported the defunding by putting a spin on the issue and announcing 6 months' funding before the program is lost. Queensland Government budget papers stated:
Funding of $7.4 million has been provided to continue the Youth Support Coordinator Initiative to 31 December 2013 to maintain support for at risk youth for the 2013 school year. From 2014, the program will be delivered by the Department of Education, Training and Employment.
Meanwhile, QCOSS Commentary on the State Budget 2013-14 perpetuated the myth:
There are no new major cuts to the sector this year, rather there are some welcome, mostly small, initiatives to ease last year’s pain. Funding for Youth Support Coordinators will continue under the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services until the end of 2013 where responsibility will be transferred to the Department of Education, Training and Employment.
YANQ strongly condemns the reckless dismantling of the Youth Support Coordinator Initiative by the LNP Government, the incompetence of the Minister for Communities for allowing such significant funding for the youth portfolio to disappear and the QCOSS commentary, which lacks any analysis or understanding of the significance of this loss to the youth sector and young people in Queensland.