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Taskforce to assist vulnerable children

Roger Jaensch, Minister for Human Services

Young people at risk of homelessness is a very complex problem. That’s why the Hodgman Liberal Government is investing in services and accommodation options that address unmet demand, as well as measures to help prevent future youth homelessness.

Today I can announce the establishment of a skills-based Taskforce to identify and prioritise special care for homeless children and youth under 16 who are not in out of home care.

This delivers on one of our actions under our Affordable Housing Action Plan 2 to support vulnerable Tasmanians, including young people at risk of homelessness.

The Taskforce will be independently chaired by CEO of Colony 47, Danny Sutton, who has a strong knowledge of the issues faced by homeless young people in Tasmania, bringing not only his own expertise to the Taskforce but the capability to consult with all other relevant stakeholders to provide informed advice on these issues.

The membership of the Taskforce also includes:

  • Dr Catherine Robinson, Social Action and Research Centre, Anglicare;
  • Professor Shelley Mallett, Director of Research and Policy Centre, Brotherhood of St Lawrence;
  • Marcus Turnbull, a legal practitioner and independent Children’s Lawyer in Child Safety matters;
  • Ginna Webster, Secretary, Department of Communities Tasmania; and
  • Mandy Reynolds-Smith, Principal Project Officer, Student Engagement, Department of Education.

The Taskforce will examine a variety of options, including working intensively with these children and their families to keep them housed; assisting them into suitable accommodation in a family environment with therapeutic support and improving access to special care and secure accommodation.

I would like to thank Mr Sutton and the members of the Taskforce for agreeing to participate and work towards assisting to reduce youth homelessness.

The Hodgman Liberal Government is working hard to reduce housing stress and homelessness, and we have allocated almost $68 million in 2019-20 to boost the supply of new social and affordable homes.

We have also extended funding for emergency support to provide secure, safe accommodation options to those Tasmanians who are homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness.