Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Make young people count – Dignity for Disability releases youth policy
Respecting young people’s intelligence and providing them with strong support networks are the goals of Dignity for Disability’s youth policy, which the party released today.
Party Leader Kelly Vincent MLC said the policy had been written to address issues young South Australians repeatedly raised with Dignity for Disability.
“We often hear from young people who feel disenfranchised because they are not seen as important in the political process,” said Ms Vincent. “We are also regularly contacted by young South Australians who have been let down by systems – whether they be education, health or welfare – at exactly the time they most needed support.”
Dignity for Disability’s youth policy has three main areas for action:
– Create a transition program for people with disabilities moving from school to work. “Young people with disabilities are under-employed in South Australia,” said Ms Vincent. “We need to better manage the transition out of school and into the workplace so these young people can find the job they’re looking for and keep it. The SA Government should assign caseworkers from the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology to help young people with disabilities find and attain employment. Funding should also be put towards a mentorship program so that these new employees have support as they negotiate the complexities of work and workplace relations.”
– Instate non-compulsory voting for 16 and 17-year-olds. “Giving people the opportunity to vote before they turn 18 encourages engagement with the political process and the community,” said Ms Vincent. “We want to develop our politically-minded young people and also make sure their issues are given due weight when raised with politicians.”
– Better funded youth health programs. “Youth health programs like The Second Story and the Shopfront at Salisbury are crucial in providing general health services, counselling, sexual health information and advocacy for young people,” said Ms Vincent. “Unfortunately there are too few of these facilities, and many of them are over-stretched and under-resourced. We need to better fund these programs and also make sure there are some services specifically equipped to support youth with disabilities, GLBITQ young people and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”