School Focused Youth Service: funding
TodayI express my great concern regarding the government’s decision to discontinue funding for the School Focused Youth Service (SFYS). This is despite the government contracting PricewaterhouseCoopers to undertake a review of the program. In its review PricewaterhouseCoopers said that the SFYS aims to improve services for vulnerable children and young people by building partnerships and linkages between schools, community agencies, local governments and other relevant agencies. SFYS was initially developed as part of the Victorian government’s response to the 1997 report of the Victorian Suicide Prevention Task Force; however, it is not exclusively a suicide prevention program. The role of SFYS within Victoria’s approach to suicide prevention and mental health has shifted with subsequent policy developments in mental health and broadening of the stated focus of SFYS.
In the Ballarat region the program was brokered by Ballarat Community Health, which has supported 43 programs over the last three years. It received over $210,000 in government funding for this program. Likewise in the Kyneton area, Cobaw Community Health brokered numerous highly valued programs. Both agencies, along with the schools and numerous other agencies involved, are greatly distressed that the Baillieu government has determined to end this program, despite the PricewaterhouseCoopers review, which recommended that: the department should enter into new funding agreements with auspice agencies … This is a disgrace.