The Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) is a state-wide advocacy service for young people with disabilities in Victoria. We are the only advocacy service in Australia which exists specifically to work directly with young people with disabilities to achieve their human rights.

We offer a free individual advocacy service to young people aged 12-25 who have a disability. This means that you can come to us if you feel like your rights are being ignored and you need help.

YDAS is continually undertaking systemic advocacy and working on policy issues that are important to young people with disabilities such as housing, independent living, employment and education. We work to ensure that the interests of young people with a disability are heard by government and other decision-makers.

Established in 2006, YDAS is a core agency of the Youth Affairs Council Victoria. YDAS is funded by the Victorian Government.

Get involved

There are different ways you can get involved with YDAS. Some of these opportunities are just available to young people with disabilities. Others are open to anyone who may want to join us in working towards positive change for young people with disabilities in Victoria.

From time to time, we offer opportunities for young people to volunteer. This may involve helping out with one our projects or helping to build awareness of our service. Opportunities to volunteer at YDAS are open to people with and without disabilities who have a passion for disability advocacy.

If you are a young person aged 12-25, you may also be interested in applying to join our Steering Committee.

Steering Committee

The YDAS steering committee is composed of young people 12-25 from across Victoria, most of whom have disabilities. The committee works with YDAS staff to make our service is relevant to young people with disabilities, and addresses their advocacy needs.

The YDAS steering committee:

  • Provides direction and vision for YDAS
  • Decides, with the YDAS manager, which areas of systemic advocacy YDAS will work on and how
  • Identifies and discusses issues of importance to young people with disabilities
  • Provides input and feedback on YDAS campaigns and projects
  • Represents YDAS on external groups and committees

The minimum commitment as a Steering Committee member is to participate in a meeting every six weeks. It is a voluntary position, but travel expenses, catering and support needs (e.g. Auslan interpreters or attendant support) are covered by YDAS.

Steering Committee members are offered the opportunity to get involved in relevant events, forums, projects and programs. They can also nominate to represent YDAS, and be a voice for young people, on external advisory groups.

If you are interested in becoming involved with YDAS, or would like to find out more, contact ydaspolicy@yacvic.org.au or on 9267 3709.

Individual Advocacy

The YDAS individual advocacy service is open to any young person with disability aged 12-25. The service can support young people with disabilities to affirm their rights in a range of areas, including employment, education, housing, social security, healthcare, discrimination and more. YDAS does not charge young people any cost for use the indivdual advocacy service, it is a FREE service.

Our service is unique because it is directed by the young person with a disability themselves. We work directly with the young person to help them achieve the outcomes they want.

After working with the young person to identify what they want, we develop and implement a plan to achieve it. We can support the young person with letter-writing, telephone calls, information provision, lodging complaints, attending hearings or proceedings, and arranging and attending meetings. The work undertaken is directed at achieving the young person’s desired outcome.

We can also help young people disabilities to access information about their rights. In some circumstances we will refer them to other services, if those services are in a better position to assist.

Forms

When requesting advocacy assistance from YDAS, our individual advocate will ask you to complete a service request form. This can be downloaded below or you have the option of completing the form online via the Survey Monkey link, which goes directly to our individual advocate. If you need help to complete the form, please call our individual advocate, Fiona, on 9267 3733.

Service Request Form – Word version

Service Request Form – Survey Monkey online form

YDAS welcomes feedback both positive or negative. We always encourage our service users to let us know if they are unhappy with our service. You can provide your feedback in a range of ways, either face-to-face, over the phone, by email or by completing our feedback forms or complaint forms that are below.

Feedback Form – Word version

Feedback Form Survey Monkey – Online version

Complaint Form – Word version

Complaint Form Survey Monkey – Online version

To find out more about how to make a complaint you can check out our complaints procedure below. All of our service users are also encouraged to contact the Disability Services Commissioner if there is anything about our service that they are not happy with.

How to make a complaint about YDAS – Word version

Systemic Advocacy

At YDAS we believe it is important to working on the big issues. That means doing what we can to fix attitudes, rules, laws and systems to improve the lives of all young people with disability.

We do this by working to influence government policy, and reduce discrimination in the community through policy advice, lobbying and campaigns.  Much of this work is directed by our Steering Committee, and is informed by issues that arise in our individual advocacy work.

Contact

Leah van Poppel is the manager of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service. You can contact her on 03 9267 3709 or on ydas@yacvic.org.au.

More ways to contact us. 

Meet our staff.