Research and Evaluation at BYS
Our research and evaluation centres the voices and experiences of young people and their children.
We actively collaborate and consult with young people, academics, sector partners, and community to address gaps in knowledge and identify emerging support needs and challenges impacting the wellbeing of young people. We are committed to using evidence to continually improve the effectiveness of our work with young people.
Pathways Into Couchsurfing From Child Safety Involvement
Couchsurfing, or temporarily staying with friends, extended family, acquaintances, or strangers, is a growing form of homelessness within Australia, and particularly concentrated among youth. System involvement with child welfare and its link to youth homelessness has previously been well-established, but not within the context of couchsurfing.
Attending School While Homeless: Emerging Evidence from Young People in Brisbane
While education is known to be a critical factor in breaking cycles of homelessness for young people, new evidence from young people accessing Brisbane Youth Service paints an unexpected picture of homelessness and school attendance.
In 2020-21, 1,277 young people in Brisbane presented to Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) with 389 aged 15 to 17 years and 888 aged 18 to 24 years. Homelessness intersects with a range of other challenges in young people’s lives including exposure to violence, financial disadvantage, mental illness, substance use, overall health/wellbeing, and disengagement from education and employment. Young people experiencing homelessness find it exceedingly difficult to remain engaged in education and are at higher risk of leaving school early compared to their peers.
Young homeless people and domestic and family violence
Young people experiencing homelessness and domestic and family violence have complex needs and encounter extensive barriers when seeking support and assistance. They may not recognise or may normalise abuse, thereby compounding the issue. Unfortunately, non government and government sectors and agencies can be siloed, further complicating responses and hindering service provision.
Young Women Navigating Homelessness and Pregnancy
Women who are young, pregnant, and navigating homelessness have compounding and intersecting vulnerabilities, with both their own and their unborn child’s welfare at risk. Young women facing these challenges have increased risks associated with escalation of mental health concerns, family and relationship violence, physical health issues, poor nutrition, financial issues, and a range of other stressors including the broader elevated health issues that impact Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people. Babies impacted by parental homelessness are more likely to have pregnancy and birth issues including low birth weight, developmental challenges, thrive delays and other medical complications.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy in Crisis: Adapting Practice in Pandemic Times
With massive increases in the number of new requests for support, overstretched resources and reducing referral options, the Brisbane Youth Service Intake Team have needed courage to tackle the seemingly never-ending impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In surviving the diverse challenges of the last two years, the team has had to work hard to remain grounded amidst the frustrations that can come with trying to respond to the often seemingly unsolvable crises impacting young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
When a Whole Lot of Young People Get a Whole Lot More Stressed: Mental Health, Young People, Homelessness and COVID-19
Mental health concerns are consistently one of the most prevalent challenges facing young people who are at risk of homelessness, or homeless, when coming to Brisbane Youth Service for assistance. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic both the numbers of young people presenting for support and the percentage of those young people who are experiencing mental health issues have increased disproportionately. The concerning increase in mental health issues in the general Australian population has been well documented, with evidence that this impact has been stronger for young people and that mental health is the third most common aspect of young peoples’ lives to be adversely affected by COVID-19
Innovation ensures we continuously develop strategies, tools and programs to enhance the level of support available to vulnerable young people. Examples of this include:
Cross-Organisational data collection to measure and understand our impact.
Couch-surfing research to address a critical knowledge gaps.
A focus on the intersection of homelessness and violence in recognition of the complexity of working with intimate partner and family violence in a homelessness context.
Youth-led practice informed by our Youth Participation Strategy to ensure young people’s voices and experience guide our work.
Evaluated trials of new programs that enable young people to be diverted from or transition out of the homelessness system.