Mission and History | Youth Insearch

Mission and History

Youth Insearch runs one of the most successful youth intervention programs in the country. We work with at risk youth aged 14 to 20 supporting them to turn their disadvantages into their advantages, enabling them to reach their full potential. The program has a peer focus, on young people helping young people.

Since 1985 the program has helped almost 32,000 young people rebuild their lives, and assists around 1,000 young people per year across NSW, VIC and QLD.

Youth Insearch is an independent not-for-profit organisation and is not affiliated with any religious or political group. 


To be available to every young person in Australia.



To empower young people to take control of their lives,
and play a positive role in society.



Our objectives are to:

  • Teach young people the positive values of life
  • Teach young people the value of education, increasing school retention and employability
  • Relieve the suffering and helplessness of young people affected by distressing issues 
  • Break the cycle of family breakdown by giving young people some of the skills essential to being a successful parent
  • Reduce the incidence of crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm and suicide in young people
  • Enhance young people's self-esteem through empowering them to take control of their lives


The Youth Insearch program consists of two core components:

  1. Weekend Workshops
  2. Community Support

Community support includes support groups, peer-to-peer support, and mentoring. Leaders Training is also an essential part of the program. All these elements combine to create significant change in young people.


Youth Insearch has recently extended its core program by partnering with NSW Rugby League (NSWRL) on the Changing Rooms program, and with Stockland Traralgon on Project Empower. Our presence though these programs extends our reach, and enables us to help more young people in new ways.


Youth Insearch was founded in 1985 by a Youth Development Counsellor at the Riverstone Community Neighborhood Centre in North West Sydney.

He believed that individual counselling was slow and had little impact on the community as a whole. He met with the young people he was counselling to discuss what would be more effective. Together they wrote the Youth Insearch program. 

In 1987, Youth Insearch outcomes in Riverston resulted in the closure of half the Riverstone Police Station operations. Youth crime relating to delinquency, alcohol and drug use and drug dealing had hit an all-time low due to the positive impact of the Youth Insearch program. This was the start of national media coverage and rapid expansion of the program across Australia.