QLD Transition to Adulthood Month: CREATE calls for placement support to 21
The Productivity Commission has reported that Australian governments spent $3.4 billion last year supporting children and young people in out-of-home care. However, such precise records are not kept regarding the support these young people receive when they leave the care system on turning 18. CREATE Foundation is advocating for governments to provide an economical form of post-care assistance by giving young people the option of remaining in their placements until they turn 21.
Each year, over 500 young people leave the Queensland child protection system to live independently. Around half will have to leave their placements where they have been living as a family. These young people will struggle seeking help from government and non-government organisations, often with limited formal or informal support networks. Those who are able to remain in placement do so because of their carers’ altruism and generosity.
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 conducts research and develops policy to support advocacy for a better care system.
Transition to Adulthood Month (T2A) takes place each November and aims to highlight the needs of young people as they exit the child protection system, so that they may experience more positive life outcomes along the way.
The 2019 theme: “Road to Independence…Journey to success” promotes the idea that a young person’s transition is a journey that evolves over time. Their experiences as they become independent and successful will ultimately set the path towards adulthood.
CREATE Foundation’s Chief Executive, Ms Jacqui Reed, said: “When leaving the care system, young people are without adequate support and our national consultation results indicate that over 60% of young people leave care without clear plans for their future. These figures present a stark reality.”
“As a sector, we encourage the community to participate in supporting young people by speaking with them about their future goals, and connecting them to the available supports, which are often unknown to those who need them most.”
“With over one third of young people couch-surfing or homeless in their first year after leaving care, carer placement options are needed to the age 21, and this has been adopted by three states and trialled by two others already. In Queensland, we are encouraged that the age of remaining in placement has been increased to 19, and we look forward to seeing it extended to 21 so young people can have a positive transition to adulthood.”
You can support young people who are transitioning to adulthood by hosting an event, chatting to a young person about their transition plan or next step, and you can share info about resources like “Go Your Own Way kit” and the “Sortli app” so they can get help, make a plan, and get sorted for adulthood.
For further comment from CREATE’s Chief Executive, Ms Jacqui Reed, or a young person with care experience please contact the following:
Transition to Adulthood Month is coordinated by G-Force, a sector-wide working group, chaired by CREATE Foundation and comprised of both government and non-government organisations. Young people with a care experience play an active role in contributing to and leading the group’s work. G-Force seeks to support those working with young people in out-of-home-care by sharing practical information, practice wisdom and useful resources. The group also provides stakeholders with an opportunity to provide feedback about systemic changes that could lead to improved outcomes for young people in out-of-home-care.
For resources, information and events, visit www.createyourfuture.org.au/T2A and for information on CREATE, visit www.create.org.au To find out about Next Step After Care and how young people can access support visit nextstepaftercare.com.au
A special event is taking place to mark the launch of “Homestretch” in Queensland. Taking place in Brisbane on November 28, 2019, this event provides an opportunity to hear from young people, carers, professionals and academics who are calling on the Queensland Government to provide young people in state care with an option of extended care to 21 years. For information and to register visit: http://thehomestretch.org.au/news/queensland-home-stretch-campaign-up-and-running/
Key statistics on the care sector in Australia:
- 45,800 children were in out-of-home care across Australia (AIHW 2018)
- Young people in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely to be under a youth justice order than the general population
- 35% of young people experience homelessness within the first year of leaving care
- 46% of males have been involved with the justice system since leaving care
- 29% of young people who have left care or preparing to leave care are unemployed
- 36% children and young people in care do not live with any of their siblings
- 35% of young people in care have five or more caseworkers during their time in care
- 67% of young people in care over the age of 15 are not aware of having a leaving care plan