The Evidence Portal

Types of interventions, programs and practices (by targeted subset of vulnerable youth)

Runaway, homeless or street-connected youth

A number of studies examined interventions and programs targeting young people who had run away from home, were homeless or street-connected. For example, Gwadz et al, (2018) conducted a cross-sectional qualitative descriptive study of programs for runaway and homeless youth in New York, USA. The authors found that effective services for these populations needed to be specifically tailored to their circumstances and needs. A systematic review found no significant differences between the outcomes observed for ‘standard services’ including drop-in centres and case management compared with therapeutic interventions with this cohort (Coren et al, 2019).  


Southern Youth and Family Services: Approaches to reducing youth homelessness and disadvantage

An online adaptation of the Our Voice and Journey of Hope services

What is it?

This study explores effective practice for assisting young people to avoid or exit homelessness and contributes to the evidence on what works well in supporting young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  

What are its impacts for young people?

The Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS) operating model offers multiple interventions with dispersed entry points and pathways across more than 40 services including youth specialist and family-centred practices as well as whole-of-community engagement. Evaluation of this model found that past SYFS clients’ current housing circumstances are significantly improved. 

CALD youth

Young people from CALD backgrounds may face unique challenges associated with feelings of displacement, recovery from trauma, discrimination, migration stress and lack of social supports (Kaur, 2014). Conversely, young people from CALD backgrounds may benefit from protective factors that build resilience such as kinship, hopefulness and cultural identity (Babic, 2015). These risk and protective factors are not homogenous across all CALD youth. Consequently, youth work interventions and services targeting these cohorts must consider the individual circumstances of each young person. There are numerous interventions, programs and services that can support CALD youth to thrive (see Babic, 2015 for an overview of evidence-based reports, resources and practice examples for working with CALD young people as well as resources to support professionals in child, family and community welfare sectors).


STARTTS: Project Bantu Capoeira Angola

Program for refugee youth at risk of developing psychological and behavioural complications

What is it?

Project Bantu Capoeira Angola aims to assist refugee youth better settle into school life and build resilience via kinaesthetic movement and an individual-strengths-based approach to personal growth and recovery. Capoeira Angola provides training in a mix of dance and martial arts grounded in an ancient art form with a rich cultural heritage. To maximise accessibility of these services, STARTTS works in close partnership with the education system and with school communities via the Schools Program.

What are its impacts for young people?

A qualitative evaluation undertaken by Momartin, Miranda, Aroche & Coello (2018) sought to establish the program’s impacts on young participants’ psychological and social issues. The authors reported positive changes observed by participants and teachers to refugee young people’s resilience, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and school attendance. 


Youth at-risk for suicidal ideation or suicide

A systematic review undertaken in Australia demonstrated the positive impact of increased employment of youth workers in schools and extension of school-based youth work programs and online virtual youth services on reductions in suicides among school-aged youth (Cooper, 2015). 

Interventions targeting domestic violence-affected youth

Specialist youth services for youth who have experienced or been affected by domestic or family violence have been shown to benefit young participants’ socioemotional wellbeing. For example, Coburn & Gormally (2014) evaluated a youth service for domestic violence-affected youth in the UK and found that one-to-one support and group work sessions assisted the youth to foster empathy, better understand domestic abuse and feel safe about working through their emotions and making prosocial connections.

Youth transitioning out of out-of-home care or custody

Out of Home Care:

A systematic review assessing effectiveness of interventions that improve outcomes for young people leaving out-of-home care found that the overall evidence-base was not robust enough to draw any conclusions or recommendations. Certain policies and programs such as extended care showed promise (Tyler et al, 2021).



WEAVE: Creating Futures – intensive support service for young people leaving custody or involved in the criminal justice system

What is it?

Creating Futures is an intensive support service for young people leaving custody or otherwise involved in the criminal justice system on bail, community orders or court diversion. It provides court support and advocacy and wraparound casework tailored to the needs and goals of each young person.

What are its impacts for young people?

An evaluation report undertaken by Schwartz & Terare (2020) demonstrated that the Creating Futures program had positive impacts on recidivism rates among its clients, as well as supporting more than half of them in areas of brokerage, court support and housing. 

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander youth
Last updated:

23 Jan 2023

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