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CREATE calls for six month extension of care and support for at risk young people during COVID-19

Written on April 17, 2020

The Australian child protection system is facing an unprecedented challenge during the global pandemic, Covid-19. In spite of this, now more than ever, CREATE Foundation is answering the call sustaining the work in key advocacy areas and providing young people at risk with up-to-date, reliable information and supports to ensure they can be empowered, safe and well.

CREATE says when young people turn 18 and are scheduled to exit the care system and transition to independence, accessing housing is very challenging, even under normal circumstances.

CREATE Chief Executive, Ms Jacqui Reed, says “Through our independent consultations with young people we know that over 35% experience homelessness within the first year of transitioning from care, and in this current climate the complexity of the situation leads to additional challenges around accessing housing and basic supports.”

CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience (including kinship care, foster care and residential care).

CREATE develops policy and research to report on and advocate for a better care system.

CREATE is particularly concerned about those turning 18, as their struggle to find suitable housing during transitioning to independence is now compounded during Covid-19.

CREATE’s targeted communication has been sent to each state and territory’s relevant Department requesting a minimum of 6 months’ extension of the transition process (including all residential, foster and kinship care placements).

There has been some encouraging progress so far, in South Australia and the Northern Territory. South Australia Acting Deputy Chief, Sue McDonald shared they are committed to extending our support and ensuring there are services available to young people transitioning from care and protection orders in this time of uncertainty. Territory Families Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ken Davies, has also confirmed that no child in the NT will exit into homelessness, and instead is able to stay with carers and/or residential placement until the time they have secure housing.

CREATE also commends governments who are ensuring that young people in care have the option to continue attending school or after-school care and holiday programs, which help offer placement stability.

Media comment from CREATE’s Chief Executive, Ms Jacqui Reed, and/or a local young person with care experience from your region can be arranged via Leigh White, CREATE Communications Advisor, via (m) 0431 932 122 or leigh.white@create.org.au

If a young person with a care experience is finding it hard right now and could do with some support or information, CREATE offers multiple ways to access the latest key updates via this page: https://create.org.au/news/blog/

The restrictions around social distancing may continue well into 2020 and CREATE is utilising technology to enable remote delivery options for staff to remain in contact with young people in meaningful ways.

For more information please free to contact CREATE or visit www.create.org.au
CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience (including kinship care, foster care and residential care). CREATE develops policy and research to report on and advocate for a better care system.

For further comment from CREATE’s Chief Executive, Ms Jacqui Reed, and/or a young person with care experience contact Leigh White, CREATE Communications Advisor, via (m) 0431 932 122 or leigh.white@create.org.au

download media release

Key statistics on the care sector in Australia:
1. 45,000 children were in out-of-home care across Australia at 30 June, 2019.
2. Young people in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely to be under a youth justice order than the general population
3. 35% of young people experience homelessness within the first year of leaving care
4. 46% of males have been involved with the justice system since leaving care
5. 29% of young people who have left care or preparing to leave care are unemployed
6. 36% children and young people in care do not live with any of their siblings
7. 35% of young people in care have five or more caseworkers during their time in care
8. 67% of young people in care over the age of 15 are not aware of having a leaving care plan

McDowall, J. J. (2015). Sibling placement and contact in out-of-home care. Sydney: CREATE Foundation