Welcome to the new face of YSAS
YSAS is now the Youth Support & Advocacy Service.
Formerly known as the Youth Substance Abuse Service, YSAS is entering a new and exciting era in responding to the needs of vulnerable young people in the Victorian community. YSAS is broadening the scope of our services whilst retaining all the elements of existing services and activities.
For many young people problematic drug and alcohol use is simply the most obvious signal that they are in trouble and experiencing distress. Closer engagement with the young people usually reveals a complex pattern of related issues to do with family and personal relationships, access to mainstream activities such as education and employment, emerging or evident mental health concerns and engagement with the justice system.
These multiple influences determine the extent to which vulnerable young people have the opportunity to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. They can facilitate or act as barriers to a young person being able to manage their health and resolve associated problems.
YSAS experience, supported by research evidence, is that the optimal response to vulnerable young people experiencing complex difficulties is multi dimensional and holistic.
YSAS provides an integrated suite of clinical and psycho-social support services for every young person engaged. It is a fundamental approach at YSAS that these services are made available by a program of active outreach to young people most in need.
YSAS workers connect with young people, develop supportive, respectful, therapeutic relationships and, working alongside them in a range of contexts, create opportunities for the young people to develop resilience and attain the best possible health outcomes.
Young people can be engaged by youth outreach strategies in local communities or by referral pathways developed with stakeholders such as youth justice, child protection, police, courts and other services.
YSAS programs and services include:
• Community based programs (including Youth Outreach)
• Day programs
• Primary health services
• Supported accomodation
• Home based withdrawal services
• Intensive residential withdrawal and support
• Residential rehabilitation program
• Koori Youth Alcohol and Drug Healing Service
• Specialist services and programs
• Research and Training
• YSASline - 24 hour toll free telephone information and referral service
The optimal response to vulnerable young people experiencing complex difficulties needs to be multi dimensional and is based on an individual assessment and care plan
- no one size fits all -
Youth - YSAS works with young people aged 10-25. The focus is on young people who have experienced a range of adverse life events, and how these circumstances can compromise their health and wellbeing. Drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems, homelessness, violence, disconnection from family and community, disengagement from education and training, unemployment and incarceration are some of the factors that YSAS addresses.
Support - Young people are often in need of practical and immediate support such as food, clothing, caring support and safety before they can apply themselves to other issues. Support is both the precursor to more specialised assistance as well as a fundamental staff practice orientation. YSAS creates a service framework that attempts to understand and respond to a young person’s most pressing needs first through respectful dialogue with them and therapeutic relationships.
Advocacy - Vulnerable young people have often had negative experiences with adult authority figures and remain suspicious and distrustful of social institutions such as police, courts, teachers, social workers and other adults in authority. Having a YSAS worker accompany them to court or an interview can often make a difference. More broadly, YSAS has gained first-hand knowledge of the many challenges young people face, and is able to speak to governments and the community. YSAS has an obligation to share this knowledge to influence community attitudes as well as government policy and practice.
Service - YSAS is founded on the provision of a range of integrated direct services to young people. Specialist services focussed on drug and alcohol such as residential withdrawal, residential rehabilitation and Alcohol and Other Drugs youth outreach have broadened their scope to include primary health, structured and unstructured day programs, a dedicated service for Aboriginal young people, additional outreach services to young people from new and emerging communities, family services, programs for young parents and increased capacity to address young people with co-existing mental health problems. The YSAS practice framework is based on the integration of specialist and generalist approaches to the multiple and complex needs presented by vulnerable young people.