Issue 23: September 2012

HealthyFocus SAHealth helix upper

Care model reaches out to youth


Teamwork achieving results: The Yarrow Place Youth Team from left: Melinda Rendell, (Clinician) Cath McLaren (Community Engagement), Sarah Cooper (Acting Coordinator) Michele Fogarty (Clinician), Claire Cooke (Acting Coordinator) and Lana Ngo (Clinician).

A new approach to providing care and support to young people who have experienced sexual assault is empowering youth in state care to work through their trauma in a positive way.

Historically, the Women's and Children's Health Network's Yarrow Place Youth Team has provided an appointment- based counselling service. However, the Mullighan Inquiry into Children in State Care, handed down in 2008, provided the opportunity for a review of therapeutic services.

The new model used by the Yarrow Place team is based around "assertive engagement", which sees the workers meet the clients in their own environment.

It is a partnership model with Families SA using a therapeutic care team comprising a Families SA social worker, Yarrow Place therapist and other significant people in a young person's life, such as carers and teachers.

The program is for young people aged 12–25 under the Guardianship of the Minister, who have been or are at risk of being sexually exploited or have absconded from care or are at risk of doing so.

Nearly two years into the program, and Claire Cooke, Acting Coordinator, says anecdotal evidence suggests high levels of engagement from the young people.

"We're seeing positive outcomes from both individually focused therapeutic intervention, group programs and also as a result of the intensive support we offer," Claire said.

"Through the provision of a flexible service, clients are being responded to in a timely manner around crisis as well as through ongoing support.

"Workers are able to move with the client through change of location and region

to ensure stability of service delivery, which enables long-term therapeutic services

to be Provided. This fosters trust and consistency for the young person as they move through adolescence to adulthood."

Sarah Cooper, Acting Coordinator, said that relationships between statutory body Families SA and health care provider Yarrow Place were being strengthened as a result of the program, with opportunities for shared learning and practice development.

Sarah said the new model of care gave the Yarrow Place team the opportunity to work long term and intensively with a small group of young people.

"Due to the long-term nature of the client relationships, our workers are able to undertake extensive assessment of client needs and be responsive to these needs in the young person's environment," Sarah said.