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.
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.
The Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) and Awards Victoria are running a pilot program called the Emerging Young Leaders Program.
- A program for young Victorians who are emerging leaders who are aged between 14-19 and identify as having a disability, being Deaf, neurodiverse, and/or having lived experience of mental health issues.
- You will develop your advocacy, communication, teamwork, community outreach, and leadership skills while working towards completing a Duke of Edinburgh or Bridge Award.
- Voluntary position. Applications will close on Sunday 24 February 2019.
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 [email protected].
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.
Youth Disability Rights Hub
The Youth Disability Rights Hub empowers young Victorians with disabilities to know and defend their rights about issues including:
- disability services
- Centrelink and Medicare
You can contact our advocacy intake line on 0429 964 859. This number is staffed by an intake officer from Wednesday to Friday. You can leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Alternatively you can contact the YDAS Manager, Miia Tolvanen, on 0467 763 155 during office hours, Monday to Friday or by email at [email protected].
Find out about our individual advocacy here.