Kids Back On Track campaign
BARNABY Joyce has promised to help get those with a powerful story in the same room as the Social Services Minister, in the hope of saving a life-changing program.
Earlier this week, The Leader reported Youth Insearch was at risk when it runs out of government funding next year. Since then, there has been a deluge of support, with dozens of people coming forward to share their experience with the program.
Mr Joyce responded to letters from Youth Insearch chief executive Heath Ducker and Tamworth magistrate Mal MacPherson, requesting his help to meet with Social Services Minister Christian Porter.
“I have written to Minister Porter, asking if consideration could be given to this request in light of the concerns and points which you [Mr Ducker] and Mr MacPherson have raised, and for his advice as soon as possible,” Mr Joyce wrote.
Mr MacPherson has spent 50 years in the law game, 25 of those as a magistrate.
He says Youth Insearch is the only program he’s seen work.
“I’ve been a magistrate long enough to deal with three generations of the same family,” he told The Leader.
“When you find a program that breaks that cycle, it’s pretty exciting.”
The Deputy Prime Minister coming to the table is “a huge step forward”.
“I understand that doesn’t guarantee funding, but I appreciate Mr Joyce’s efforts and the fact that he has indicated he’ll be attending with us,” he said.
Mr Ducker went through the program as a troubled teen – now he’s leading the organisation that changed his life.
He wants to tell Mr Porter about the hundreds of people Youth Insearch has helped.
“It’s pretty hard to hear these stories, and not be moved and impressed by the program,” Mr Ducker said.
“They’re not just stories, they’re real children who desperately need our help.
“The government needs to step up.”