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New app to help Australian youth develop life skills

A new app was developed with the hopes of helping young Australian people, who are in out-of-home care, to develop skills that will be useful in the real world.

There are at least 50,000 young people throughout Australia who are in out-of-home care, according to a recent report.

GOM City is a new online portal aimed for them who are ready to move out on their own.

Relationships Australia worked with care leavers to develop the portal, which is similar to the how popular computer game SimCity works.

Two members of a focus group of care leavers suggested building an app that will teach the young people how to create daily routines as well as build literacy and develop problem-solving skills by playing the game.

Moreover, the platform would help with things like budgeting, paying bills, and buying and cooking food.

While being in care, there are a lot of people who are doing certain things for a person, such as paperwork.

Because of this, they are not given the opportunity to grow as a person, branch out, and do things on their own.

The group wanted to reclaim the term Guardianship of the Minister, or GOM, which often had negative connotations and turn it to positive ones.

Part of being in the real world is learning that there will be no one who will always be there to do everything for a person and that they need to be responsible for themselves.

An Adelaide-based game developer created the app, using the input given by care leavers.

Since most people that are under the age of 25 do a lot of stuff on their mobile phone, the app is targeted for them in order to to engage with them through a mobile platform.

For a person who might be in a managed care situation, the mobile phone might be the one personal item that they bring from place to place as they move through care.

The app allows users to complete day-to-day tasks that included sleeping or cooking food, as well as games like quizzes and word puzzles.

Everything about it is local. A lot of the details and information learned is specific to Australian laws, for instance South Australian rental laws.

In addition, the app also tackles issues like addiction and domestic violence by asking questions or providing information about what a respectful relationship is.

An anxiety meter that users have to monitor is also available.

It is presented in a fun, and not confronting, way allowing them to experiment, play, and relax while actually learning some very useful life skills.

The project, which is underway in South Australia, is hoped to be rolled out nationally if it gets more funding.

A Relationships Australia Project Officer shared that statistics concerning mental health problems and homelessness are terrible which may be due to the fact that these young people are not receiving much support.

The organisation will look to add more features to the website GOM Central, as well as the app in 2019, with the idea that it could help other young people, not just those from out-of-home care.


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