Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS), is an independent, local community-based charitable Organisation in the South East and Southern part of NSW. SYFS provides support and assistance to vulnerable, disadvantaged and homeless young people and those at risk of, disadvantage and homelessness. This support extends to the children and families of these young people.
The target group includes children, young people and families including;
- Young people aged twelve to twenty four years who are homeless and or otherwise disadvantaged (unemployed, in poverty, experiencing housing stress etc) and/or vulnerable
- Young people under the parental responsibility of the Minister
- Children (0-12), including those of young people
- Families with young people
- People with Disabilities
- Aboriginal people
- People from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds
- Young offenders and those at risk of entering the Juvenile Justice system
- Young people in need of protection who have been abused or are at risk of abuse
- Young people with mental health issues
- Young people with alcohol and other drug use and other at risk behaviours such as suicide attempts, prostitution, and others
- Refugees and new arrivals to the country
- School attendees and early school leavers
SYFS works with the broad community in a collective effort to reduce homelessness, prevent hardship and disadvantage and to enhance the quality of life for all Australians. SYFS assists individual young people and their families to improve their living situation, to reunite them to their families, to maintain their tenancies, to learn living and social skills, to link them to education and training, to support them to reduce the barriers to employment, and to enhance their health and overall wellbeing. Relationships between young people, their families and the Staff are important as a key to engagement and the delivery of services.
The development of youth supported accommodation services commenced in the mid 1970's in response to the growing number of young people who were without care or who were leaving or running away from government care. The youth housing movement saw its primary aim to expose the injustices faced by homeless young people and to work to improve the standards of living of this group of people. It came from a rights perspective - not blaming the individual, a particular recognition that inequality is structurally determined, a focus on the structural causes of homelessness, a rejection of band aid approaches, a rejection of control, a rejection of institutional responses to homelessness, a belief in people's participation and empowerment, and a belief that social change is necessary and possible. It is in this context that SYFS was formed
SYFS recognises and supports the basic human and individual rights of all. The particular philosophy that underpins the work of the Organisation incorporates the principles in the UN declaration of the rights of the child. The Organisation applies these principles to children, young people and young adults.
We believe that children, adolescents and young adults regardless of race, language, gender, class, sexual preference, disability, religion, political or other opinion have the right to:
- Grow up in a healthy and supportive environment- free and with dignity
- Secure, affordable housing
- Adequate and secure income
- Employment and freedom from economic exploitation
- Free education
- Protection from cruelty, all forms of abuse and neglect and safety
- Health care
- Appropriate care if disabled in any way
- Family contact, care and support
- Comfort and appropriate care
- Equal opportunities to reach their full potential
- Fair and just treatment
- Participate in community life
- Opportunities to be responsible and useful
- Preserve own identity
- Traditional and/or cultural beliefs, enjoyment of their own culture, use of their own language, practise their religion
- Freedom of choice, expression and freedom of information
- Rest and leisure
- Community support structures
The Organisation also respects the rights of parents, family members, legal guardians and other carers. We recognise the primary responsibility of parents, carers or legal guardians for the upbringing of the child and adolescent. We recognise the difficulties, complexities and responsibilities of family relationships and believe that appropriate assistance and support should be provided.
The Organisation acknowledges that along with these rights come responsibilities. It is essential that individuals have the opportunity to learn about and accept their responsibilities. Part of the work carried out by the Organisation involves the provision of various forms of support, which enhance the opportunities for this development.
The Organisation believes that the causes of poverty, disadvantage, homelessness and other problems are complex and that they are based in the structural inequities and inequalities that exist in this country. These include the high incidence of poverty, the inadequate government benefits, the low youth wages, the high levels of youth and general unemployment, the high casualisation of the workforce, discrimination, the shortage of affordable and appropriate housing options and a lack of support services. This understanding leads the Organisation to work towards structural changes that will improve the quality of life for children, adolescents and young people. With this as our vision, we place emphasis on community and policy development, advocacy, community education and lobbying to ensure young people have access to:
Secure, affordable and individual housing.
- Employment, education, training.
- Secure and adequate income.
- Appropriate support services.
- Clothing and food.
- Adequate health care.
We recognise that many people including young people and in particular homeless young people and young adults are without effective economic, legal, social and political power within our society. We also recognise the valuable contribution young people can make to their community. For this reason, we encourage the participation and empowerment of young people by supporting them in making informed choices about their lives.
This philosophy requires the work of the Organisation to be carried out in a coordinated and holistic manner with all those involved including other government departments, community agencies and family members, guardians and individuals. This Organisation has chosen the provision of supported accommodation and associated support services (such as advocacy, referral, and information) for young people and their families and working with a community development focus, as the means to achieve the aims and objectives derived from this philosophy.
Aims and Objectives
Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS) has the principal purpose of relieving the poverty, misfortune and distress of young people, who are disadvantaged, homeless or at risk of homelessness, and their families.
This work will involve direct service delivery, community development and advocacy which achieve improved living situations for young people and families. The Organisation will act to increase access for young people and families to:
- Secure, affordable and individual housing;
- Employment, education and training;
- Secure and adequate income;
- Appropriate support services;
- Clothing, food and other practical assistance; and
- Adequate health care.
Each of the Organisation’s Services operates within these broad aims. Each Service also has its own aims and objectives.
Client Guarantee of Service
SYFS strives to provide quality, timely and flexible Services. Together we will develop a plan with you, and other agencies, to meet your needs.
To view and download the Client Guarantee Of Service please click on the link below