Providing multiple services in a ‘one stop shop’ for homeless and abused youth is a more effective framework for treatment, a leading charity says.

Susan Barton, founder of The Lighthouse Foundation, said the charity covered eight essential services from education and community work to spirituality.

“A young person comes in and they get everything provided, you know, a one stop shop,” she told Central News.

“It’s broken down to eight domains… which will include educational, working, their connection to community, their level of education, their spirituality.

“A group of psychologists meet regularly and they look at those domains to make sure that they’re built and quite lush and resilient.”

Susan Barton

Lighthouse Foundation founder Susan Barton. Photo supplied.

The Melbourne-based charity’s primary mission is to provide those in their care with mental health counselling and a roof over their heads, but unlike most other charities has continued to expand what it specialises in.

Barton, who was inspired to start the foundation over 30 years ago through her own journey to adopt a child added: “I knew I wanted to adopt from overseas… And so, I had another opportunity to go over and work in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. And what I witnessed there really changed my life.

“When I came back to Australia, I realised that even though children weren’t dying of malnutrition in Australia, there was lots of children in violent homes who were being harmed and maimed.”

In Australia, a child endures physical, sexual, emotional abuse, or neglect every 11 minutes, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Child Protection Australia 2019-20 report.

“We are, I believe, a truly civil society, and one that should take care of the most vulnerable in their community,” said Barton.

She added there are many ways to get involved and help the cause, even if individuals do not have the time or resources to do so.

“That might be getting your friends to donate some of their clothing for people to go to job interviews, that might be having a collection of food… it might be that you devise an online volunteering campaign,” she said.

“There are always options”.

Main photo courtesy of The Lighthouse Foundation.