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Muggy's - providing a place for kids

A place for kids to call home 

A significant proportion of young people who are homeless have also been wards of the state. Many of these young people have never in their lives experienced a 'normal' home life.

These young people were removed from their families for their own safety, but many continued to suffer due to the instability of being moved about through different foster placements.

The Salvation Army Ingle Farm Corps in South Australia runs a range of programs for homeless youth and families, including "Muggy's" - a residential care and outreach program specifically designed to care for those children under the guardianship of the Minister (or wards of the state) - and who have been unsuccessful in other placements.

Alan Steven, Director of community services said: "Many of our kids have been tossed around in all sorts of placements unsuccessfully before they were sent to us. The government has accepted that the previous system did have some flaws and has asked The Salvation Army for help," he said.

"We care for 14 kids at the moment. Some live in our residential care, and others live in the community through our outreach program. The kids can stay until the end of their guardianship at 18. Most who come to us are only a year or two off that."

Muggy's offers a range of support including living skills, budgeting, helping with education as well as offering deeper emotional support.

Alan Steven said: "We do move them out into the community as they seem ready, but we also act as a backstop. If things do go wrong, they can always come back to us, spend more time, learn a bit more and try again.

"I think that we do see that we can make a real difference to these young lives. We have one client who had something like 15 placements in one year. You can imagine the kind of mess that would create. For him to actually be out in a unit on his own, to have bought his furniture, to have sorted himself out, got himself a job and to be working regularly is just marvellous."

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Owen, homeless youth'I didn't really have that good of a childhood. I spent the beginning of my childhood watching my mum get bashed and I used to get bashed too. I never met my real dad and spent time with my older brother mostly, but when I was twelve he got locked up for fi fteen years and yeah my sister went missing for a little while, and then I moved out when I was thirteen. I got kicked out for sticking up for my mum. When I was thirteen I got locked up for two years. I had twenty-seven theft of automobile charges and I had fi ve charges for break and enter and another charge for malicious damage and another charge for home invasion and that. That's what fu**ed me up. I know people who have been through worse. I haven't been through that much. That's how it is.''
Owen, in the documentary The Oasis.