Karinya Young Mums’n’Bubs program (KYM) provides intensive case management and accommodation to young pregnant women, young mums and dads in Launceston, Tasmania aged between 15 and 19 years of age. Priority will be given to those who have limited family support and are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Background to the development of the Karinya young mums ‘n’ bubs program:
Karinya Young Women’s Service provides short term crisis accommodation to young women aged 13 to 20 years. It was established in 1979 to meet the need for safe, confidential, crisis accommodation for young women in the Launceston and greater northern Tasmania region.
Karinya initially identified that a critical gap in support existed for young women expecting babies and experiencing homelessness in the northern region of Tasmania around Launceston. In 2010 Karinya engaged a consultant to research this apparent gap in service delivery. In undertaking a needs analysis the consultant convened a focus group with service providers in the northern region. The resultant report presented the evidence, a practice framework and a proposed service model to meet the needs of young pregnant women facing or experiencing homelessness in the late stage of pregnancy and after the birth of their baby.
The on-the-ground expertise sought through the research phase aligned with the literature about the target group. Thus, while this group has needs and aspects in common with other youth-related elements (adolescent support, homelessness and family support), this cohort has a specific set of needs that set them apart by virtue of age and stage of child/adolescent development, and structural dimensions to the housing market and income status.
The Tasmanian Homelessness Plan and the Federal White Paper on Homelessness both identify young people as a special target group for attention and support though an early intervention approach to break the cycle of homelessness. Bringing together the literature and evidence from the academic, practice and policy fields on resilience in young people, young parents and families, has made a strong case for placing young pregnant women high on the priority list for homelessness intervention and investment.The program was piloted for three years through the Clarendon Children’s Foundation. Due to changes to their funding guidelines, this was no longer available however the program has been successfully funded for a further three years by the Tasmanian Community Fund.
The young people who are referred will undergo an initial assessment to assess their eligibility for the program. This assessment will be based on age, circumstance and support needs. Once a young person is accepted into the program a case plan will be developed in conjunction with a case manager to determine support needs and goals. Case plans will be continually evaluated so client’s goals and plans can evolve and progress can be mapped through the program.
The KYM case managers will liaise with other service providers and facilitate case conferences to ensure that the client’s needs and goals are being met. A key focus for all participants is the development of links with education and training opportunities.
At the core of the program is the provision of medium to long term accommodation. When a property becomes available, the eligible young person is supported through the tenancy process including lease sign up, maintenance expectations, and payment processes. The KYM workers can assist them with tasks such as power and gas connection, obtaining furniture and setting up their unit. Education and support around basic living skills are key to supporting clients to maintain stable accommodation.
Exit planning is a critical part of the case plan and will be different for each participant. Some clients may need the full two years of support and other may need less. As our program is unique we are able to be adaptive and responsive to each individual client’s needs and requirements. A client who has exited from the program will have the skills, knowledge and information to access alternative support and services in the community.