Being a/part is a national research collaboration that looks at the contribution a sense of belonging might make to the outcomes for young people using Anglicare services.
Being a/part surveyed young people aged between 17 and 21 accessing Anglicare services, many of them with a history of hardship, asking for their view of how social support, belonging and connection help them transition into early adulthood and independence.
The survey found support provided by youth social service workers can be the circuit breaker for young people who have grown up in adversity.
The greater adversity young people faced in childhood, the less the support they feel from families and friends. That’s when other people in their lives, such as social service workers, play a significant role in helping them connect to their community.
Overall, we know it is very important for young people to feel like they belong. But the sense of belonging depends on how they see the behaviour and responses of others.
So if we want young people on the edges to feel they belong to society, rather than suggest that they are simply not trying, we need to create welcoming and accepting places.