COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions – 18 and over
The coronavirus has meant some pretty BIG changes for many people across the world. As a young person with a care experience who has turned 18 or is turning 18 soon, you might have questions about whether anything will be different for you, or you might want to know about the help that is available.
Below is a list of the most common questions CREATE has been asked by young people. Beneath each question is the best answer we can give at the moment. It’s important to remember that just like how every person is different, every situation is different! We are trying to update this information as much as possible at the moment so please stay tuned for more info!
If you’re finding things hard and need some support visit our COVID-19 update blog to find services that can help. You can also receive help from the Aftercare service provider in your state, to find your local service head to this page. should also If you’re looking for ideas of what you can do at home visit our Ideas to get you through being stuck at home blog post. If you want to know about CREATE’s advocacy priorities during this time, you can find them through this post.
The below information was information was last updated on 14/5/2020
For young people 18-25 years old with a care experience
What do I do if I have lost my job?
There is help available. The Australian Government announced on 30 March 2020 that you may be eligible for payments of $1,500 from your employer if you’ve lost out on shifts or lost your job – if you have been in the job for 12 months or more. Before applying for Centrelink, call your employer and ask if you’re eligible for their JobKeeper payment and check this information.
This is a payment that will come through your workplace, not from Centrelink. It’s money given to businesses from the government to encourage them to keep their employees.
If you’re not eligible, there are two payments you might be eligible for: the JobSeeker payment and the Coronavirus Supplement, contact Centrelink for more information, go to the website or call them on 132 850 if you are 22 years of age or over, or 132 490 if you are under 22.
If you need help with getting support from Centrelink, you can also contact your local after care service (for young people with a care experience), visit http://createyourfuture.org.au/after-care-services-across-australia/ or contact CREATE on 1800 655 105.
What do I do if I am worried about paying my rent?
If you can’t pay your rent, your first step should be to should contact your landlord or property manager as soon as possible to negotiate a new agreement such as rent reduction or deferral of payments.
Different states and territories have different help for renters at the moment, visit this site to find out what’s available in your state or call your local after care service: https://www.rent.com.au/blog/covid-19-rent-relief-packages-tenants
New laws have been introduced in quite a few states and territories around Australia that state you can’t be evicted if you are served a notice to vacate on or after this date because you can’t pay your rent due to coronavirus (COVID-19); at this stage New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have committed to this, for more information see: https://www.rent.com.au/blog/covid-19-rent-relief-package
Please also see the information in this FAQ about Centrelink help that is currently available.
I have younger /older siblings in care, will I still get to see them at the moment?
This may be different for each person, but at the moment face-to-face contact with people outside your home will be kept to a minimum and online or telephone contact used instead. Talk to your sibling’s worker about how this impact
s you. Children in care still have a right to have contact with important people in their life.
I am feeling really isolated what can I do?
CREATE understands that this is a big problem for young people and we are encouraging you to connect with your friends, family, CREATE to chat and talk about how you are feeling. There is a lot of information and activities on U-tube, and the Internet and CREATE has activities scheduled for your state so why not reach out to us about when our next event is on? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
You can also contact:
- Beyondblue – 1300 224 636 or www.beyondblue.org.au
- Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au
- 1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732 or www.1800respect.org.au
- Headspace – www.headspace.org.au/
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
What if I am supposed to transition from care in the near future, do I still have to? Or can I stay longer where I currently live?
CREATE has asked all governments around Australia to tell us the answer to this as we are very concerned that young people may have to find accommodation and set up independent living at this challenging time. The NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS, SA and NT Territory governments have told us they are all committed to making sure young people transitioning from care get the support they need at this time
In Victoria the Department of Health and Human Services has committed funding to give young people turning 18 years old before December 2020 the option to remain with their kinship or foster Carer. Young people turning 18 can also transition to independent living arrangements with an allowance to cover costs associated with housing. Case work support will also be provided to these young people and their carers during this period. For more information about what’s happening in Victoria you can go to this statement from the Victorian Premier.
For young people in residential care, because of legal issues around young people over 18 living with those under 18 in a residential home, you might not be able to stay where you are living but you should be receiving extra support during this time with finding a new place to live.
For some information about what’s happening with residential care and transitioning in NSW, please see this Department of Communities and Justice COVID-19 information for residential care services.
All states have very clearly stated that any extension of placements or living arrangements is voluntary for young people and carers. The departments recognise the young person’s legal standing as an adult in that process and choice and rights they have
Contact your caseworker who will be able to talk to you about your situation and the help that is available to you, including the After Care service in your state: http://createyourfuture.org.au/after-care-services-across-australia/. You have a right to get the help you need to transition from care to adulthood – don’t be afraid to ask for it! If you are not getting the help you need from your caseworker, ask to speak to their manager or someone else in their team, and if you are still not getting anywhere, head to this page.
What if I have a transition to independence plan, but those options are not available at the moment because of COVID-19?
Contact your case worker about developing a plan with different options that are available at the moment but it is also important to keep working with your case worker on your goals for the future.
Can I still get TILA funding?
Yes, you can still access TILA. Information about TILA can be found at https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/benefits-payments/transition-to-independent-living-allowance-tila
You can also contact the Department in your state to ask about TILA:
- Australian Capital Territory (Community Services Directorate) – (02) 6207 4579
- Northern Territory (Department of Children and Families) – (08) 8922 7097
- New South Wales (Department of Communities and Justice) – (02) 9716 2222
- Queensland (Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women) – (07) 3224 8045
- South Australia (Department of Child Protection) – (08) 8226 6037
- Tasmania (Department of Health and Human Services) – (03) 6233 2273
- Victoria (Department of Health and Human Services) – 1300 532 846
- Western Australia (Department of Communities – Child Protection and Family Support) – (08) 9222 2658.
TO read Coronavirus messages in different languages please go to https://www.health.gov.au/resources/translated