Nardella attacks Baillieu cuts to local youth suicide prevention service

The State Member for Melton, Mr Don NArdella MLA has called on the Baillieu Government to reverse its decision to axe the School Focused Youth Service operating in the Melton & Moorabool LGAs.

The state-wide School Focused Youth Service (SFYS) is provided in Melton by DjEES and in Moorabool by Ballarat Community Health. Both work to support vulnerable children and “at-risk” young people by establishing partnerships and coordinating services in local communities.

Mr Nardella said:

This vital service was established by the Victorian Government back in 1997 in response to the Suicide Prevention Taskforce and is funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to work across government, catholic and independent schools. In 2010/11, nearly 50,000 children participated in projects brokered by the SFYS.

The Baillieu Government has confirmed the service will cease at the end of June this year, even though a consultant’s report it commissioned says such a move would be premature.

The School Focused Youth Service played an extremely important part in keeping kids engaged with school and local services and helped to reduce the incidence of youth homelessness, substance abuse and suicide.

The School Focused Youth Service is critical to the wellbeing of many local young people and the Baillieu Government’s decision to axe the program before it has properly consulted our local community or has put forward an alternate model shows that this is just another short-sighted cut by the Baillieu Government.

This is yet another example of the Baillieu Government’s cuts to education hurting our local community, in this case, vulnerable children.

Ted Baillieu should be working to improve services for children and young people in in our schools instead of pulling away vital services like the School Focused Youth Service.