Causes of youth homelessness – bereavement

Youth Homelessness - parental bereavement

According to CREATE Foundation, there were 45,000 children and young people living in out-of-home care across Australia between June 2018 to 2019. However, this number changes every year as children and young people come in and out of the care system… you can read more here.

What is the leading cause of homelessness in young people?

According to AIWH, in 2019–20, three of the main reasons young people aged 15–24 sought assistance from specialist homelessness services were a housing crisis (17%), family and domestic violence (17%) and inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions (12%).


Another reason we might not hear about is parental bereavement. Did you know that 1 in 20 children in Australia will lose a parent by the time they’re 18?

Death of a parent can be an extremely stressful time for a child or young person even if they have the support of the other parent. What if they don’t – who takes care of the children? Usually it would be settled by the court in consultation with family but in the event there is nobody able or willing to, then the child would be placed in out of home care and the agency would try to find a suitable foster family.

When the bereavement happens with a young person they may come to Burdekin, where we offer wraparound, therapeutic care for the child or young person.

We recently listened to Dr Justin Coulson’s Happy Families podcast with his guest speaker Kristy Thomas, Co-Founder of Feel the Magic and the topic of Helping Kids Cope With Grief. Kristy says’ Feel the Magic was borne out of her own and her husbands bereavement and lack of resources in Australia.

Feel the Magic hold virtual and face-to-face camps teaching emotional literacy, coping strategies, tools to self-regulate and self soothe and they also get to meet others who are going through the same thing. Anxiety, dysregulation, overwhelm, isolation, withdrawal and risk-taking behaviours. A child who has had a significant bereavement before the age of 18 is six times more likely to die by suicide. Have a listen. Helping Kids Cope With Grief

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