Final Report: Final Evaluation of Youth in Communities for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs


Federal Government funding was provided for the Youth in Communities (YIC) program for 2009/10 – 2011/12 under the Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement. The YIC program targets young Indigenous people 10-20 years of age living in remote communities. The objectives of the YIC program are to deliver a comprehensive youth strategy in the NT that: provides an effective diversion for young Indigenous people from at risk behaviours; improves life choices and outcomes for young Indigenous people, through engaging them in positive activities that promote pathways to better health and wellbeing, community capacity building and participation in school, work and social networks; and strengthens and improves the youth services infrastructure, both in the number of youth workers employed and the facilities available for providing youth services and activities. This report, the Final Evaluation, comprises three sections: Section One includes: an overview of the YIC program, the program logic; the terms of reference (ToR) and Methodology for the evaluation. Section Two includes: the findings in response to the ToR from the analysis of data and information gathered throughout the evaluation as a result of: a review of recent research to gather evidence on the overall progress of the NTER / Closing the Gap initiative; a review of service provider performance reports for the period ending December 2011; site visits, and a survey of all YIC funded service providers. Section Three presents an overview of how the policy context has evolved since the inception of the YIC. It was found that all services have been working hard to strengthen their service delivery models: the numbers of participants have grown from about 3000 participants in 2011 to about 4500 in March 2012, with the involvement of young people from a broad age group age (between 5-30 years). Services have become more experienced and matured in their delivery including the way in which they engage with young people, empowering them and giving them opportunities to develop leadership skills. Support from community stakeholders is positive. Most services now have a community management committee. All services have strengthened their community consultation and interaction through consistently working with elders and other key players. Services have indicated that they are interested to learn from other service providers regarding what strategies are more successful than others and what is working well. YIC has provided more trained youth workers and Indigenous youth worker trainees in communities. Key issues impacting on outcomes for the service delivery network and infrastructure mostly relate to seasonal barriers, the availability of facilities and housing, the level of support required for remote staff, community engagement and certainty of funding. Lessons learnt for future program and policy design of program implementation include having the appropriate level of resourcing to cater for age groups outside the YIC target group, establishing gender specific activities, developing a more integrated and holistic approach to youth development and linking to broader community development and a commitment from governments to a longer term youth funding model.

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