Bridge of Hope has launched a new program to support young women transitioning from out-of-home care to independent living.
Bridge of Hope Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established by John Walsh in 2002. Primarily, the foundation seeks to break down barriers for vulnerable young people and provide them with the tools they need to feel supported and secure.
Through the work of volunteers and partners, they help these individuals to develop crucial skills essential for thriving in adult life.
Their new program, Bridging the Gap, focuses on young women moving from out-of-home care to independent living, reducing barriers to success and building confidence.
Understanding the system
In 2022, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported 10,000 young people in detention. 81 percent of this group were aged between 14 and 17.
Research conducted by Bridge of Hope founder, John Walsh, found that 50 percent of young offenders end up in the adult detention system within five years of release, while 62 percent of young people entering the youth justice system come from out-of-home care.
For Bridge of Hope, this reveals a gap in social justice and rehabilitation, one which it seeks to fill. The foundation also attempts to collaborate with advocacy groups, organisations and volunteers to raise awareness and develop real-world tools for success.
The new initiative
Recently, GJK Facility Services donated $20,000 to the new Bridging the Gap Initiative. The funds have helped to provide resources and mentorship opportunities for young women often overlooked by the system at large.
For many women between the ages of 18 and 21, leaving the care system means stepping into a confusing and unknown reality with insufficient support. This often leads to mental health issues, homelessness, or criminal offences.
As such, several programs were specifically designed to target these areas and fill in holes within the care system.
This includes the L2P Driving Program, which helps young women to obtain their driver’s licence, promoting independence and creating new job opportunities.
Similarly, the Careers Program takes women through essential employment steps such as developing a resume, learning presentation and interview skills, and obtaining clothing and work placements.
Bridge for Hope has also partnered with Headspace to offer mental health support and assessments from trained professionals.
They also acknowledge that many of these young women will leave care without basic documents, striving to provide individuals with a copy of their birth certificate, a bank account, Centrelink and a public transport card.
While the initiative is in its early stages, Bridge of Hope is dedicated to continuing its efforts and making changes for young people in Australia.
To read about the charity supporting mental health in construction, click here.