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Christmas 2009

Youth issues

A Salvation Army officer talking with a young personThe Salvation Army, through its national network of youth services, provides a wide range of services for homeless and disadvantaged young people.

Contact one of our youth centres or programs.


Street work

Outreach workers make contact with homeless and at-risk young people on the streets to let them know someone cares and to target young runaways before they become entrenched in the homeless sub-culture. Outreach workers also assist those who are entrenched in homelessness, prostitution and drug addiction.

Drop-in Centres

Provide a range of services such as meals, medical and legal services, storage, washing facilities, and showers.  Many young people are assisted to resolve their crisis and move on; others are referred to services to meet identified needs.


The Salvation Army provides emergency, short and long-term accommodation options, with levels of support depending on individual needs. These services aim to provide homeless young people with a supportive, safe environment and to assist them develop the necessary living skills to achieve independence.

The Salvation Army assists young people who no longer need high level support to secure permanent accommodation through their own or community resources.  An important part of this support is assisting them connect with local services in these communities.


  • Prevention - the Army is increasingly trying to prevent young people from leaving home prematurely by providing support to families and young people experiencing difficulties. Programs such as the Reconnect Project in Sydney, Blacktown and Fairfield assist where there is a risk of a young person leaving home. Other services, such as Oasis Youth Centre at Wyong, NSW, aim to improve opportunities for local youth through provision of health and support services, recreation and entertainment facilities specifically for young people.
  • Drug & Alcohol rehabilitation - provision of rehabilitation (or referral) is a vital aspect of The Salvation Army youth programs. In addition to its Bridge Program, which provides specific residential rehabilitation services, the Army is developing innovative drug and alcohol programs for young people which are relevant and accessible.
  • Employment - The Salvation Army uses work training programs specifically designed for young people including ‘This Way Up’ furniture factories, cafés and other projects. Outdoor adventure projects also help long term unemployed young people build skills, overcome fears, and broaden their perceptions of what they can achieve.
  • Education - Literacy programs use art, drama and creative writing to help encourage young people express themselves. Numeracy programs, computer classes and other work-related skills are also taught.
  • Health - Outreach workers provide health information to young people on the streets and visiting drop-in centres. Doctors visit youth care centres as a free service and mental health workers are also being increasingly used.
  • Court & Prison Support - The Salvation Army’s chaplains visit children’s courts and youth detention centres to support young people in trouble with the law.  The Oasis Youth Support Network co-manages a unique legal service called ‘Shop Front’ which employs three solicitors to provide legal representation for homeless and disadvantaged youth.
  • Recreation - most centres of The Salvation Army have accessible, church-based recreational activities running as part of their program. Local young people are always welcome and invited to join in this caring community. See Youth Activities.