The Reconnect program, run by the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) in Melbourne, is an initiative of the Australian Government. It is a community-based early intervention program targeting young people between the ages of 12 and 18.
Constructed by the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in May 2009 but continuing to run under the new Department of Social Services, the program works with young people who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness by using an open and understanding early intervention process to help young people achieve family reconciliation, as well as improve their level of engagement with work, education, training and the community.
Reconnect aims to provide assistance through different methods that can reach and assist young people.
Services include counselling, group work, mediation, referral pathways and practical support for all family members. Furthermore, Reconnect invests time into referring young people to other agencies to assist them with issues out of the program’s reach.
Reconnect intends to achieve goals that benefit the young person. The main priority is to provide family reconciliation to achieve positive outcomes for the young person and their family members, including:
- The young person being able to return home.
- Ongoing positive family relationships.
- Reconciliation between the young person and other family members (e.g. grandparents, siblings).
- Both parent(s) and the young person accepting that independence is appropriate for the young person.
- Establishing a viable support system for the independent young person that includes a member of their family.
CMY clients, who come from migrant and refugee backgrounds, face a unique range of issues which Australian-born clients often don’t. Newly-arrived families and their young people often face a range of pressures once the resettlement process begins.
This may include the impacts of trauma, experiences of loss and grief, cultural shocks, alienation, language barriers and difficulty in understanding cultural ways and legal systems. To respond to these needs, CMY workers provide relationship-based support, aiming to understand the clients’ situation as well as spending time to better assist them.