AN organisation targeting young people at risk says it needs more funding so it can expand into more schools.
Imagined Futures executive director Judy Walls said they’ve had strong results from the five south-west metro schools currently signed up to the organisation’s program.
“If we had a diversity of government and non-government funding, it would help with the sustainability of the program,” Ms Walls said.
“I would love to see this model expanded so that we can help the more youth have a positive pathway in life.”
The program aims to get vulnerable young people at school more than 90 per cent of the time by helping build their competence, resilience and skills base.
According to a Mitchell Institute report from 2017, the social cost of youths leaving school early is more than $616,000 over their lifetime.
“There is a lot of research that states that early school leavers are at a much higher risk of long-term unemployment,” Ms Walls said.
“It can lead to an increased risk of social isolation, long-term welfare independence, mental health issues and the increased vulnerability to be engaged to criminal activities.”
Imagined Futures works with schools to identify youngsters likely to benefit from the program and encourage their involvement.
Ms Walls said when children transition from primary school into high school, there was a higher risk of truanting because they felt more pressure to meet higher expectations.
This meant they could struggle to make connections at school or feel a sense belonging and worth.
Imagined Futures is a multi-agency taskforce including representatives from Palmerston (drug and alcohol advice) and Headspace (youth mental health).
by AMY EWERS