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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 May 1995) . . Page.. 163 ..

In this new arrangement the important relationship between services for children and young people and the Government's responsibilities for education and families is given special recognition. The aim is to create a Children's and Youth Services Bureau with the services effectively integrated for more efficient and comprehensive delivery of service. The bureau brings together non-statutory services which were previously in the Health Department, the Department of Urban Services - in the Housing and Community Services Bureau - and the Chief Minister's Department, and the statutory Children's Day Care Services. Other statutory children's services will continue to be provided through the relevant agencies. (Quorum formed) The bureau will ensure that links with these agencies are maintained and strengthened. Additionally, maintaining close links with the Department of Health and Community Care will be a key task of the bureau. The new bureau, which integrates these services, is part of the Department of Education and Training and will report directly to Cheryl Vardon, the chief executive of that department. This is an exciting direction, which will assist in the coordination and delivery of a comprehensive and effective range of services to children and young people in the ACT.

The Government is very keen on innovation in this area. The new bureau will provide clear strategic directions for services to children, young people and their families, with a focus on long-term issues and the development of cohesive policy and service delivery across the whole area. The establishment of the bureau means the transfer of a range of functions from different areas so that the following services are brought together under one administrative umbrella: Preschools, the Child Health and Development Service, the Children's Day Care Services, the Adolescent Day Unit, the Early Intervention Service, the Early Childhood Services Unit and the Youth Affairs Unit.

This new organisation of services for children, young people and families is important because children will be seen as whole persons, as individuals, but also as members of families, schools and other communities. Having all services integrated in the new bureau will do away with overlapping and duplication of services and programs. Improved links and communication will ensure that services are more focused and efficient. The overall benefit will mean less running around for families and more easily understood and accessible services.

The new bureau will be responsible for developing current and future directions for the services for children and youth. The aim in this process is to improve the quality of services. The Youth Affairs Unit is responsible for effective management and coordination of community-based programs for young people. This unit also manages the Streetlink youth support program, which provides individual and ongoing support for young people who present with a range of issues, and liaises across government and with the community in the development of policy and programs affecting young people. The youth services grants program administered by the unit provides funding support to youth and community organisations in the ACT to provide a range of services and to develop initiatives for the benefit of young people aged 12 to 25 years. Under revised guidelines, the emphasis is on service delivery, and funded services will be required

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