Vulnerable and disengaged youth

Vulnerable and disengaged youth


This four-year program aims to improve the mental health of young people aged between 12 and 17 years living in out of home care in Melbourne. The team is using three studies, Ripple, Bounce and First Bounce, to guide its research and the development of a program that can be tailored to the needs of each young person.

Why is this research area important?

Young people in out of home care typically have experienced serious disadvantage and trauma early in life. Many have multiple and complex needs, with poor mental health and poor social functioning, while in care and when they leave care.

Key questions

- Will the young people involved in the program have improved mental health, greater resilience and less stress than those in the comparison groups?
- Will services operate more collaboratively and effectively?
- Will the program be a more cost-effective approach than treatment currently used to improve the mental health of young people in out of home care?


Orygen Youth Health Clinical Program, Royal Children’s Hospital, Youth Support and Advocacy Service, Mindful, Deakin University, Foundation House – Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture, MacKillop Family Services, Westcare, Anglicare Vic, CREATE Foundation, Berry Street, Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency, Centre for Multicultural Youth, Victorian Commission for Children and Department of Human Services.  

Research Leader

Professor Helen Herrman
Head, Vulnerable and Disengaged Youth Research
Research Interests:
Vulnerable and disengaged youth, community mental health, mental health promotion.


  • Dr Kristen Moeller-Saxone
  • Simon Malcolm
  • Dr Laura Hayes

Chief Investigators

  • Professor Patrick McGorry
  •  Associate Professor Sue Cotton