Launch of The Ladder Step Up Western Sydney Program

Young people in out-of-home-care will benefit from a range of programs aimed at tackling youth homelessness, thanks to a unique partnership between the NSW Government and Ladder.

Today, the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, the Honorable Brad Hazzard MP, announced $1.3 million in funding over two years for Ladder Step Up Western Sydney.

This program will see education, employment and mentoring provided to young people exiting out-of-home care and assist them to explore vocation and education pathways that interest them.

Ladder Step Up Western Sydney is supported by the AFL Players, AFL and the GWS GIANTS as major partners.

At the launch today, Minister Hazzard said that 60 per cent of children and young people in care experience homelessness at some point in their lives.

“Too many of Australia’s homeless are young and too many have been in out-of-home-care,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Our partnership with Ladder, and their major partners the AFL, AFL Players and GWS GIANTS, is an opportunity to explore ideas and come up with programs that affect real change in young people’s lives.”

The Ladder Step Up Western Sydney is an early intervention program that will target young people aged 17-20. Several 34 week programs with different groups of young people will run over the two year period and will include work experience opportunities, assistance in finding employment and education as well as mentoring. Specific groups will be run for young mums and bubs and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Ladder CEO, Elisabeth Tuckey said this early intervention program would reach young people as they exited from out-of-home care and give them the best possible chance of success.

“Each one of these young people deserve a chance to build a bright future and this program will provide just that.

“We know that this group is at-risk of homelessness so it makes complete sense to intervene early and support them to build independent living skills, community connections and secure employment or education.

“Youth homelessness is an issue that must be addressed by the community as a whole. We look forward to working with the NSW Government, our major partners, the Western Sydney community, organisations and employers to make a real difference to these young people’s lives," Ms Tuckey said.

It is expected that the program will begin operating and working with young people in Western Sydney from April 2017.

Hear from a former AFL player what it's like growing up in foster care from 16 months old, and why this program is so important.

Keep up-to-date with the program development and other Ladder news by clicking here.