Lions Life Skills Centre
Motto: Changing Tomorrow Today
Our aim is to:-
1. Provide a medium term transitional residential/educational facility assisting in the prevention of child abuse, relationship breakdown and community isolation, through an early intervention, prevention Centre for young single mothers and children, and for youth in need aged 16 to 25;
2. To house youth in rental units enabling them to develop the skills to be successful in future long term commercial residential accommodation;
3. To provide opportunities in an accepting environment for young people to take responsibility for their own lives; and
4. To assist them to live independently and actively participate in the community of their choice.
Lions Life Skills Centre was built to:
- Provide a continuum of care for young people exiting the care of Clyde House to make a graduated transition from formal supervised support to increasing independence as they mature and grow older;
- Provide subsidised transitional accommodation for young pregnant women and their children, or single women who are at risk of homelessness;
- Provide subsidised transitional commodation for young adults both male and female, to assist with continuing school programs;
- Provide a range of social, personal, parenting, life skills, mentoring, health and welfare programs. Our belief is that in supporting isolated and sometimes dislocated young families we can provide an effective early intervention and prevention program with a clear aim of reducing domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.
EXITING FOSTER CARE: A Queensland Perspective
Under current legislation, the provision of protective services and accommodation by the Queensland government ceases once a young person in care reaches eighteen years of age.
Young people sometimes have to leave their placement foster home regardless of how long they have been living there and regardless of their readiness and personal maturity to cope with independent living.
In the absence of appropriate transitional housing and financial support, young people who leave care will frequently either exit into services designed for homeless young people, rely on the goodwill of friends or relatives or at worst, transition into boarding houses, bed and breakfast hostels, the streets and night shelters.
Tragically, researchers have found that young people who exit the care of the Department of Communities (Child Safety) are over represented in the following statistics:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Psychiatric disability
THE ISOLATION OF BEING A YOUNG PARENT
It is clear from research that young families can be more vulnerable and 'at risk' than some other families in managing the significant life changes that come with pregnancy and early parenting. Issues that impact upon young families can be:
- The untimely nature of the pregnancy (most adolescent pregnancies are unplanned)
- Disengagement or limited family support (many pregnant and young families do to have the support of a loving family, conflict and estrangement frequently increases at the disclosure of an unplanned pregnancy and the choices to be made: some adolescents will have family experiences e.g. violence, abuse and neglect which, can have a negative effect on their health and wellbeing and make it more difficult for them to make informed healthy choices, trust other adults and have help seeking abilities; some will have already come to the attention of the child protection system or children and young people themselves)
- Single parenthood (most adolescent women will carry, deliver and rear their children without the support and assistance from the father of their children)
- Social isolation (an extremely high proportion of young pregnant women drop out of school; many become increasingly isolated from established peers during pregnancy and parenting; establishing new peer supports can be challenging at this time)
- Financial problems
- Structural barriers (eg affordable, stable accommodation options are extremely limited particularly to under 18's, those who have no rental history, no employment history and are single parents; cheaper housing options are frequently further away from services such as transport, shops, health clinics, doctors etc, particularly compounding social isolation with geographical isolation)
A NEED FOR AN EFFECTIVE DUAL MODEL OF SUPPORT:
LYEAC believes that an effective model of support through the Lions Life Skills Centre (LLSC) must take into account the need to both:
1. Provide a 'continuum of care' for young people exiting the care of Queensland Department of Child Safety, previously living in Clyde House. This is so that the young people concerned can make a graduated transition from formal supervised support to increasing independence as they mature and grow older.
2. Provide a range of social, personal parenting, life skills, mentoring, health and welfare programs. Our belief is that in supporting isolated and sometimes dislocated young families, we can provide an effective early intervention and prevention program with a clear aim of reducing domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.
OUR TARGET GROUP WILL BE
- 16 - 24 year old young people transitioning from care or are at risk of homelessness, and are referred to the Manager.
Young pregnant women and their children, and their partner that have been referred to KYC or through other youth organisations such as Balloo Crisis Care, Young Parenting Program or similar organisations caring for youth.
The Lions Life Skills Centre consists of:
1. LYEAC House & Lions Life Skills Training Centre
- One large 2 story building containing the LLSC house for onsite management on the top level and
- Community Meeting Room, Life skills teaching facilities, Kitchenette, toilet, disability toilet and shower and resource storage on the ground floor
2. Residential Townhouses - short to medium term transitional accommodation
- Furnished two 2 bedroom and four 1 bedroom units with kitchen, bathroom and lounge facilities