GOM Central began as a desire to support young care leavers in ways they want to be supported, to provide the resources they ask for, and to give their ideas a chance to be realised.
Relationships Australia South Australia’s (RASA) Post Care Support Services was already offering support in the form of counselling, support work, case work, groceries, social groups, advocacy, connecting with family and culture, and brokerage. However, these services don’t always suit young people, and can only be offered within the metro area, so it felt important to RASA to create something with young care leavers that was multimedia and online focussed.
The project started with a discussion group of young people from out-of-home care backgrounds, talking about the challenges they faced during their transition to independence, and what would have helped them. The group met regularly for six months, making key decisions, shaping content and eventually naming the resource.
Many of the young care leavers involved in the project have been called ‘GOM kids’ throughout their life, and often in offensive or derogatory ways. Instead of shying away from the term, however, they embraced it, self-identifying as GOM kids, and wearing to name as armour against stigma and stereotyping they have endured. For many of them the name GOM Central reclaims the term, capturing the ownership young care leavers have over the project and giving them a sense of empowerment (and a laugh at the shocked look on people’s faces when they hear it).
GOM Central, which included videos, a blog and the GOM City mobile app, were launched in November 2018 by the Hon. Rachel Sanderson Minister of Child Protection. The resources continue to be added to and updated, with a podcast and more videos coming soon.
The young care leaver discussion groups have also kept going, with new topics to discuss and new elements of the GOM Central to develop. The project always welcomes new voices and faces, so if you’re a young care leaver aged 15-25 and you want to get involved, contact the project coordinator on 0491091702, or through RASA’s Post Care Support Service 1800 188 118.
The GOM Central resource is funded by the Department of Child Protection and delivered by Relationships Australia South Australia.