Birribi, meaning A Crossing Place, is a Residential Rehabilitation Program, located on a 15 acre property at Eltham in the north-east of Melbourne. Up to 15 young people, aged between 15 and 20 years, can stay at Birribi at any one time. There are three units, each one able to accommodate five young people.Residents at Birribi move through a three-staged program and can stay up to six months.
Birribi adopts a holistic approach to working with residents. The program is highly structured and aims to provide a range of activities each day. These include: living skills, education, relapse prevention, personal awareness programs, sport, music, adventure activities and camps. Each young person works through the program at their own pace and has personal goals to achieve.
Stage One – Trying it outDuring this stage, which is usually two weeks, the young person focuses on whether Birribi is right for them at this time. There are no phone calls or visitors.
Stage Two – Working it outThis is usually the longest stage. The young person works on their goals and participates in the whole program. They are able to make personal calls, have visitors on the weekend and apply for a small amount of leave. After ten weeks they become senior residents and help new residents settle into Birribi.
Stage Three – Mapping it outDuring this stage, the young person deals with practical aspects like housing and employment. They are given more independence and encouraged to take longer leaves from Birribi. Residents graduate at the end of Stage Three.
Families are encouraged to be involved in the Birribi program. Each Wednesday night is a special family night, and family members can visit on weekends.
Most young people at Birribi are maintained on Youth Allowance and a proportion of their benefit goes toward board and lodging.
The Birribi program is voluntary. The young person needs to want to be at Birribi. Timing is everything.
Referrals to Birribi can be made:
- by individual young people or family members (FreeCall 1800 009 121)
- through YSAS Community Programs
- community alcohol and other drug services, GPs, primary and mental health services, youth justice and homelessness services.
View Birribi Photo Gallery