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A stable home is key to young people’s wellbeing

Having a stable home that provides a sense of security and support for children and young people is one of the basic requirements for their life-long wellbeing.

With this in mind, I was very pleased today to speak to a number of young people being supported by homeless services around Perth as part of a day-long event coordinated by the Youth Affairs Council of WA and Anglicare to mark Youth Matters Homelessness Day 2016.

What we must remember, and what young people told me during our discussions, is that homelessness is not their preferred choice, but was mainly due to family conflict and the lack of a safe and supportive home over many years.

Many of the young people I spoke to have endured very significant challenges in their short lives, and the resilience they display is remarkable.

Intervening early when young people become homeless is crucial to reduce the many risks that young people on the street are exposed to, such as violence and drug and alcohol abuse.

Of course, the best intervention is ensuring as much as possible that at-risk families have the supports they need to provide safe and nurturing homes for their children, but this will not always be possible.

I would like to thank the staff of the services we visited today, including Foyer Oxford, Street Connect, Youth Futures, MercyCare and Mission Australia.

Many young people expressed how grateful they were for the support they are receiving and how committed they are to completing their education and training and building a positive future for themselves, and this is a credit to these services and the staff of the organisations that run them.

Colin Pettit
Commissioner for Children and Young People