Queensland government adopts YANQ’s recommendation not to defund existing youth organisations, however a shift away from prevention and community development is being dictated.
Queensland government has announced the long awaited changes to funding of youth services in Queensland initially called “recommissioning” and later labelled as “renewing”. The changes dictate a much narrower scope for service delivery articulated in the following three packages:
— Information, advice and referral to services the young person needs
(e.g. drug or alcohol, mental health, housing, legal, education, domestic and family violence services)
— One-on-one support and assistance to young people who need additional or specialised help
(e.g. working with them to identify goals and strategies for re-engaging with their family and school, entering the workforce, or developing coping mechanisms or parenting skills)
Integrated response services
— Intensive and coordinated assistance for young people with particularly complex needs
(e.g. leading case panels with the young person, their family and service providers in areas such as mental health, housing or drug and alcohol abuse)
What does this mean for service providers?
Organisations currently funded by the Queensland government will be invited to deliver services that align to the new approach. Organisations will have to commit to working towards transitioning their services to the new approach.
Implementation and roll-out of the new approach
The department will implement the new investment approach in two regions first — North Coast and Central Queensland regions. From May 2014, departmental staff will work with organisations that we currently purchase services from in these regions to transition to the new service delivery requirements and establish new service agreements. Service delivery under the new approach will begin in these regions from 1 October 2014.
Following implementation in these regions and a review of outcomes, organisations that we currently purchase services from in other regions will transition to the new approach as their service agreements are renewed. Departmental staff will work individually with each organisation to develop and implement an agreed transition plan. It is expected that all organisations will be delivering the youth services required under the new approach by the end of 2015.
Success of youth sector’s campaign and where to from here?
No doubt the advocacy and lobbying undertaken by individual youth organisations as well as our collective sector voice has influenced government not to enter into an open tender process. We need to congratulate ourselves on this significant achievement however there is no time to rest on our laurels. The “Outcome Bandwagon” has already hit town and QCOSS and LGAQ have been funded by the government to pave the way for this damaging approach to be imposed on the youth sector. In the coming weeks YANQ will release comprehensive information about the subtle and hidden dangers in the governments new approach and the role QCOSS and LGAQ are playing in this process.
We understand QCOSS has been commissioned by the government to develop a “Youth Services Renewal Toolkit” to help reshape your services. Recent workshops delivered by QCOSS introducing “Results Based Accountability” and encouraging sector to adopt “outcomes-focused” approaches without any analyses what so ever about the suitability of this framework, clearly exposes the role QCOSS is playing as the advocate for the government not the sector.
As mentioned above in the coming weeks YANQ will share wit the sector the reasons why we believe the “outcomes focus” is part of the neoliberal agenda that threatens youth work and how organisations such as QCOSS with no knowledge of youth work have hopped on the “Outcomes” bandwagon and wanting to reshape the youth sector. We will be releasing a number of papers from both here in Australia as well as overseas with learning’s directly from implementation of similar changes and the damages done to the relationships between young people and youth workers.
At the upcoming 2014 State Youth Affairs Conference on 21-22nd August we will have the privilege to hear from Tony Taylor, our keynote guests from UK, who has been monitoring and writing about the threat to youth work by the “Outcomes” agenda.
There is a huge responsibility on our shoulders to negotiate and maintain the minimum services we are offering young people but without eroding the basic relationship and independence of our work with young people as youth workers. Lets’ hope we can meet this responsibility by educating ourselves as best as we can and being mindful of our commitments to young people, as youth workers, in all our negotiations.
Below is the link to the announcement by the Queensland government today.
For further information about the 2014 State Youth Affairs conference and how to register, please visit the conference website: http://www.yanq.org.au/conference.html
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