Throwing out the rulebook: collaborative innovation for the unfolding Education First Youth Foyer model

21 December 2015

By Joseph Borlagdan and Deborah Keys, 2015

Reconfigured relationships and roles were vital in the collaboration between government and community organisations to develop Education First Youth Foyers.

Developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Hanover Welfare Services (now Launch Housing), with funding from the Victorian Government, Education First Youth Foyers represent an innovative student accommodation and education model designed for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Departing from deficit-based welfare models, the EFYF model is designed to provide mainstream opportunities that enable and develop young people’s capabilities. Students participate in education and training while at EFY Foyers to gain skills to transition to independent living and employment. They also receive housing and integrated forms of support for up to two years.

The EFYF model was not an ‘off-the-shelf’ model with its own template. It required the creation of new policies and practices and new ways of working between government and the community sector.

The EFYF model signals not only a programmatic shift, but an avenue to broader policy reform. This research report identifies the key factors that ensured the development of a model that could transform youth homelessness service design and practice.

ISBN 978-1-921623-57-8

Download the report Throwing out the rulebook: collaborative innovation for the unfolding Education First Youth Foyer model (PDF file, 804 KB)


The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
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The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

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