For over 30 years, we have been working to ensure young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds have every opportunity to succeed.
We do this by removing the barriers many young people face as they make Australia their home, through a combination of support services and programs, sector capability building, advocacy and knowledge sharing.
Our work is focused in the growth corridors in Melbourne’s North West and South East regions, and in regional centres in Ballarat and Gippsland.
To create a society where multicultural young people live a life where they are connected and can fully reach their potential.
- We believe respect for everyone’s human rights is essential for a fair and equal society.
- We believe everyone should be able to feel like they belong and can participate fully.
- We believe diversity is a cornerstone of Australia’s success.
Young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds are connected, empowered and influential Australians.
Our Strategic Plan 2018-2022 highlights four key objectives that are supported by a series of action strategies:
- MY Community: Young people are connected, belong and contribute to their families and the community.
- MY Journey: Young people are empowered to access opportunities and actively shape their own futures.
- MY Voice: Young people are understood, accurately represented and influential.
- MY CMY: CMY is a strong partner and recognised leader in working with diverse young people.
The depth of experience and skills across our team enables us to work effectively with young people from diverse backgrounds. Our people are central to our ability to build strong partnerships with all of our stakeholders and create positive change across Victoria.
Who we work with
The young people we work with tell us they prefer not to be defined by labels. It is important, however, to explain that most of our work focuses on young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, 12-25 years of age.
Young people can encounter significant barriers as they try to settle in Australia or navigate life as multicultural young people. Alongside the challenges of growing up, they are adjusting to different cultural, academic and social expectations – and often shifting between cultures, at home and outside of the home.
Their sense of wellbeing and belonging can be considerably diminished by factors such as racism and discrimination. These barriers are often compounded and magnified by services and systems that are ill-equipped to provide the specialist support they need.
Despite these complex issues, we know that multicultural young people have the enterprise, resilience and optimism to contribute to the continued prosperity of Australia. By engaging them as experts in their own lives and focusing on their strengths, they can be empowered to adapt and thrive.
CMY was established in 1988 and was the first organisation in Australia to work exclusively with migrant and refugee young people.
In the mid-1980s, multiculturalism began to emerge as a framework for public policy, and consequently, so did a growing awareness of issues affecting migrant and refugee communities. In 1988, the Victorian Government established an Ethnic Youth Issues Network (EYIN) and CMY CEO Carmel Guerra, was employed as the first EYIN Project Officer.
In 2000, under the auspice of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, the EYIN re-launched itself as the Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues (CMYI). The new name reflected the growth of the organisation from a network to becoming a central point of referral, information and research.
After 20 years of development and growth, CMYI made a decision to take the momentous step of becoming an independent organisation and officially became the Centre for Multicultural Youth on 1 July 2008.
We’ve come a long way since 1988 but there are still significant challenges and opportunities, and much work to be done.
Read more about our history in Many Voices One Story: 1988-2008, celebrating 20 years working with multicultural young people in Victoria.
Reconciliation Action Plan
CMY’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in July 2022. It was developed in recognition of our commitment to creating an Australia in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights to self-determination, culture and land are celebrated and respected throughout Australia.
CMY is committed to being a child-safe organisation, and to ensuring young people’s voices are heard and influential in decisions that affect their lives.
We hold the care, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as our central and fundamental responsibility.
CMY operates within the framework of our CMY Practice Guide: A guidance document for all staff undertaking face-to-face work with young people and their families. The guide supports the delivery of direct youth support and casework services to young people and their families through:
- Providing guidance on minimum standards and best practice
- Providing practical tools to assist in designing, planning and delivering of youth support, and
- Establishing organisational consistency in the delivery of our youth support practice
- Aligning practice with CMY’s overarching values and frameworks
The Practice guide ensures the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families.