Cash puts tweens on track

A NEW youth service aimed at helping nine- to 15-year-olds was announced in Penrith on September 13.

Wesley Mission won $14 million in funding over four years for the Youth Hope program in western Sydney.

"Fifteen-year-olds are reaching into a whole new world," Wesley Mission chief executive Keith Garner said.

"Youth programs will not always focus on that time in their lives, but many are negotiating a perilous path to employment.

"Domestic violence and family breakdown sets families adrift and home is often not considered a safe place."

Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said Youth Hope was committed to helping such vulnerable young people in specific ways, rather than pushing a program regardless of individual circumstances.

"The most effective programs are flexible, allowing young people to have a say in getting their lives back on track," Ms Goward said.

"This is about offering hope to young people who sometimes get overlooked in child protection.

"There's an assumption that when children become teenagers they can stand on their own two feet, but they need support when they're on the verge of making crucial life decisions."

Penrith state MP Stuart Ayres said it was important to break the cycle of disadvantage which could lead to crime later on.

"It's good having an organisation such as Wesley Mission partnering with other organisations to do that," Mr Ayres said.

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