Distributional Analysis of the Program Reconnect
The reconnect program is primarily a community based early intervention services which were formulated in order to assist the homeless youth of the society. Youngsters between age 12 to youth who are either homeless or on the verge of homelessness are assisted by the policies under this program in order to bring stability in their current living condition and to improve their engagement level with their family,peers, education, work,training and their local community in order to ensure their healthy future. In this essay the distributional effect of the program on different social dimensions has been analysed. This essay also attempts to analyze the setting and the administrative practice of the program and the fairness of the policy proposal have also been discussed.
Overview of the program
As per the 2011 census report about 44,000 children and young people are homeless and among them the majority is aged between 12 to 24 and 17% of the homeless population are children under the age of 12 (MacKenzie, 2016). Analysis of the Journeys Home data also states that young people are prone to the cycle in and out of homelessness. For young people the issue of homelessness is complex but their pathways towards homelessness is are varied. The factors behind such transition include individual factors like family breakdown, use of drugs, abuse and unemployment (Department of Social Services,2017). Different structural factors like labor market and service support system can also considered to be indulging factors.
The Newly Arrived Youth Support Services were incorporated in the Reconnect program from 1 July, 2009. Reconnect promises to support the young people aged between 12 to 21 who have come to Australia in previous five years (Department of Social Services,2017). Reconnect service providers practice few different principles, which are:
- Working collaboratively
- Client driven service delivery
- Accessibility of the services
- Culturally and contextually appropriate service delivery.
- Building sustainability
- Holistic approaches to the service delivery and
- Ongoing review and evaluation.
Over the homeless population particular groups have been identified who are at the peak point of increased risk of homelessness and this includes young people from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background along with the refugees and new migrants. The service is achieved via the interventions like mediation, counseling, group work and practical support through the means of culturally and contextually appropriate services.
Aims and objectives
The primary objective of Reconnect is to prevent the number of homeless people with the help of community based early intervention with young people and their families. Reconnect aims to ensure secure accommodation, stable living condition, education and training for the homeless youth. Another important point that worth mentioning is that Reconnect works in collaboration with other support services and community stakeholders and networks (Kuskoff, 2016). Currently there are over 100 reconnect services which are operating in metropolitan, rural, regional as well as the remote location of Australia with help of a number of specialist reconnect services (Fildes, 2016).
Key features of the policy
Reconnect focuses on working regarding few primary factors as following:
- Family reconciliation wherever practicable and the family reconciliation outcomes include the return of the young person at home, creating ongoing positive family relationships, reconciliation of the young people with other family members, acceptance of the appropriate independence of both the parents and the young person and establishing a viable support system for the young person.
- Engaging the young people with employment, education or training along with the community.
- Improved coordination of the Government and Community sector based services.
- Application of good practice principles in order to provide innovative service delivery.
- In order to develop appropriate response to the needs of the homeless young people Reconnect focuses on the community’s existing capacity.
- Reconnect focuses on the participation of linguistically and culturally diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Fairness of the policy proposal and outcome
Since its implementation in 1998 Reconnect has proved to be an effective program. The 2013 departmental review of Reconnect conducted by the Federal Department of Social Services stated that the overall outcome of this program has been positive. The program also achieved to impact its clients positively and also they have not only met but exceeded the key performance indicators. According to the 2006 counting the Homeless Project Report the number of homeless young people has decreased largely between 2001 to 2006 (Department of Social Services,2017).
According to the evaluation in 2003 conducted by the Federal Department of family and Community Services Reconnect improved the living condition and provided stability of the young people along with that it has successfully achieved the family reconciliation through increasing the family’s capacity to manage the internal household conflicts and with improving the communication inside the family (Department of Social Services,2017). According to reports three quarters of the young people and parents who were involved in this program stated to be in a better condition than before. In addition to that the study also found that Reconnect has successfully built community capacity. The implementation policies that Reconnect uses in their services are:
- Necessarily increasing the community infrastructure for early intervention.
- Building capacity and strength through collaborating with other service networks.
- Along with that the program also tends to build their capacity by assisting other organizations who are willing to participate and also help them to have a greater focus on the effective early intervention.
- The national infrastructure that supported the Reconnect program hugely has been an effective contributor to the level of impact that Reconnect had made through their early intervention.
Target group of reconnect
The service providers of Reconnect are funded majorly to deliver services to the young people who are aged between 12 to 18 and for the newly arrived youth of the country the age group is between 12 to 21years. The service target is to secure the homeless youth or the youth who are facing the risk of possible homelessness (Cooper, 2016).
In some cases if the local situation requires Reconnect services to provide their services to a different target group, it requires to be agreed in writing with the department. The department needs to be informed through a written notice if any changes in the previously agreed target groups are approached. Up to 10% of the participants of the service providers can be the out of scope clients who can be outside the target group and it can include people of the similar age range who live outside the funded geographic area (Cooper, 2016). It provides the service to expand the scope of service in such a manner that will not disadvantage the eligible participants who are willing to access the Reconnect Services.
If the number of out of scope clients crosses the limit of 10% of the participant caseload the service providers require to detail the rationale in order to focus on the ou8t of target group to the Grant Agreement Manager so that they can acquire written approval from the department (Cooper, 2016).
Funding of the program
The service providers need to submit a detailed Annual budget to the department annually. The service providers can also facilitate their services with the help of brokerage. It enable the service providers to increase their capacity in order to offer services outside the target group and also enables their capacity to provide services to the people with immediate crisis or need. According to the guide 5% of the annual funding is being reserved for the brokerage (Johnson & Chamberlain, 2014). This brokerage can be used to purchase a range of services such as educational or vocational related items and health related services and as well as required legal services.
Brokerage or the client cost does not intend to replace the emergency relief or other crisis and does not allow cash assistance from other sources. It intends to provide service with flexibility that can facilitate the service wit5h flexibility of purchase (Johnson & Chamberlain, 2014). It is important that the organization needs to inform the staff about the amount of brokerage funds that is available so that they can use the fund accordingly to support the participants.
Another important factor is that the service providers can not charge fees to the Reconnect participants but in few cases a minimal charge is required to perform any particular activity but the participants can not be devoid of the Reconnect because of their inability to pay (). A service management fee can be charged by the sponsoring body for the overall management in order to conduct their services in a particular organization.
Improvisation of the policy
Reconnect program needs to be continuing their service with guaranteed long term funding with considering the following:
- Extending resources in order to recruit additional staff to perform services in communities with high level of homelessness risk.
- Expanding the program to additional locations.
- It is important to enable the program for adopting more community-led and place-based approaches that can help them to work in collaboration with local schools and government agencies.
The essay brings out the significant positive contribution of the services that Reconnect offers. Though further improvements can be achieved after a period of intervention, the program serves as a remarkable instrument in preventing the community need of the youth and also helps to save them from the risk of being homeless.