CREATE-ive IDEAS FOR EARLY INTERVENTION THROUGH PARTICIPATORY COMMUNITY BUILDING Alison Hines and Dee Roberts CREATE Foundation (TAS)

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1 CREATE-ive IDEAS FOR EARLY INTERVENTION THROUGH PARTICIPATORY COMMUNITY BUILDING Alison Hines and Dee Roberts CREATE Foundation (TAS) Background In 1993 the Australian Association of Young People In Care (AAYPIC) was established as the first-ever voice of children and young people in care and to effect changes in the care system. In July 1999 AAYPIC became CREATE Foundation (CREATE). The Environment Over 20,000 young people between birth and 18 years are in State care and protection systems across Australia due to neglect and abuse of an emotional, physical, sexual or psychological nature. Many suffer from a deep sense of shame and distrust, profound isolation and chronic low self-esteem. Life outcomes for most young people in care are severely limited. UK research reveals: 75% of young people in the care system do not complete schooling; 50% of homeless young people come from a care background; 50% are unemployed after leaving care; 35% enter juvenile justice institutions. There are no provisions within the care systems in Australia for young people in care to participate formally and directly in decisions affecting them made by the State and others. With and for children and young people CREATE is the only organisation of young people in care, run with and for young people in care in Australia. CREATE is their organisation. The constitution ensures that the majority of the CREATE management forum and staff are in care or have a care background and that all activities involve the direct participation of children and young people in care. Common Goals CREATE works to build community with all stakeholders in the child and family welfare system Federal and all State governments, foster carers, community bodies, indigenous groups, church agencies and others including the media to fulfill its purpose to: Ensure all young people in care are respected, listened to and as early as possible in their lives actively participating in all decisions which affect their lives. Provide all young people in care with opportunities to expand and enhance their life outcomes. Empower all young people in care through a range of original programs and services to be their best and grow and develop to fulfill their individual talents and potential. Effect on-going comprehensive changes to State care systems of Australia for the benefit of all young people in care into the future.

2 Creating Partnerships CREATE works in partnership with the business community providing mutual learning opportunities, mentoring and raising funds for our services, programs and core operations. CREATE Foundation is an incorporated company limited by guarantee, qualified by the Australian Taxation Office as a Public Benevolent Institution with full tax exemption and tax deductibility for all donations in excess of $2. Create Credo Children and young people in care, all stakeholders in the out of home care sector, those who work for and with CREATE and organisations and individuals who fund and sponsor CREATE can expect the following from CREATE: Vision A commitment to achieving positive results for all children and young people in care. Opportunities for people to work towards a shared goal. The belief in the power of passion and optimism. Participation A commitment to sharing the responsibility for creating solutions. Opportunities for people to realise their potential. The belief that by supporting people s individual growth, everyone benefits. Community A commitment to celebrating difference while building common ground. Opportunities for everyone to participate in decisions that affect their lives. The belief that you can achieve more if you work in collaboration with others than alone. Learning A commitment to stretching the boundaries of what is Opportunities for working with change. The belief in learning through experience and open, honest reflection. Leadership A commitment to leading by example. Opportunities to achieve excellence through innovation. Belief that anything is possible as long as you are prepared to take risks. Our Mission To ensure that children and young people in care are afforded the same life opportunities as all young Australians.

3 CREATE Foundation has demonstrated very clearly that young people with support, resources and infrastructure, passion and vision can indeed change and improve their situation and the lives of others. John Cloney, Chairman, CREATE Foundation Services and Programs All programs developed and delivered by CREATE involve the participation of young people in concept, design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation. CREATE the magazine gives young people opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings, make new friends, encourage each other and most importantly, not feel so alone and isolated through our magazine - CREATE. CREATE is free to all children and young people in care in Australia. Features: Content - written by children and young people for children and young people. Format - small magazine style packed with letters, competitions, stories, articles and important information for children and young people in care; with special under 12 s activity section. Target group children and young people in care aged 5 18 years; workers, carers in child welfare sector interested in what concerns and interests children and young people in care. Distribution - published bimonthly direct to 15,000 children and young people in care. Outcome - children and young people in care anywhere in Australia are able to share and contribute their experiences of care, alleviating common isolation and loneliness. CREATE Live! connects children and young people in care to each other and their communities, alleviating isolation and creating a sense of belonging. Program features: Building community - a program run for and by children and young people to build peer and support networks in local and regional communities. Format - a range of creative activities and resources designed by the CREATE team to engage and connect children and young people with each other and their communities. Program Delivery - CREATE and relevant people in the local community form a team which plans for and delivers an initial CREATE Live! Event. Following the event the team develop a plan to continue to engage the community in supporting children and young people in care. Target group children and young people up to 14 years, their foster carers, foster siblings, case workers and others within the community such as teachers and police. Duration days. Outcome - children and young people in care are connected with other children and young people in care and feel a sense of belonging in their community.

4 mission:be. is a personal discovery, self development and leadership program for young people in care. Program Outline: Content self development program exploring personal power, leadership, learning and reflection, team building, goal setting and action planning. Format A range of modules delivered over three months in a community including residential weekend experiences; regular contact with program facilitator, mentors and participants and a community based placement of participants choice. Program delivery - program coordinated by Create facilitator and delivered by a community team consisting of another community agency partner, community mentors, and young people who have previously been part of mission:be. Target group - 14 to 18 year old young people in care. Duration - three months. Outcome - empowering young people in care to make decisions and create opportunities in their own lives through discovery, development and taking action on goals and aspirations. CREATE Consulting contributes to improving the care system through training, group facilitation, research and project management. Service features: Building capacity - CREATE Consulting provides young people in and ex care with training and project work opportunities. Collaboration - providing advice and assistance to government and non government agencies regarding care issues and quality improvement in the care system. Participation - working with agencies and carers to ensure children and young people are given the opportunity to participate in all decisions about their own lives and futures. Service delivery - consulting services are delivered by project teams of trained young consultants, CREATE facilitators and external experts as required. Target group young people in/ex care, foster carers, government and non government workers. Outcome participation and contribution by young people in and ex care changing the care system in which they must live and thrive from the inside out. our CREATE - the World website Online Features: Full information on CREATE people, products, services and programs. Internal online communication system for staff and consultants. Online development - the CREATE website is continually being improved and developed.

5 Create online - an interactive site exclusively for children and young people in care building on the CREATE magazine will be developed over the next few months. Target group children and young people in care; those who work with and for children and young people in the care community; those who work in partnership with CREATE from the wider community and corporate sector; CREATE staff and young people consultants. Accessibility children and young people in care have limited access to computers and the internet. CREATE is developing a strategy to ensure children and young people have access to their own website. Outcome connecting children and young people, their stories and their unique life experiences, with each other across Australia and the world! Several more programs are in development stage including the CREATE Opportunity Fund; a Young Speakers Bureau; CREATE online exclusively for children and young people; a CREATE phone Helpline and new CREATE Consulting training products including Participation Training for Young People and a program to assist communities working with young people. This paper was presented at the conference: Children, Young People and Their Communities: The Future is in our Hands, held March 2001 at Launceston Tramsheds Complex, Launceston, Tasmania. This paper was downloaded from:

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