Young people leaving out-of-home care at 18 years of age face incredible obstacles to maintaining stable and long term accommodation. This can often lead to homelessness. Homelessness is not just about not having a home, it’s also about not having a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety and the ability to control your living space.
Research indicates that almost 35% of young people who leave care become homeless within the first year of leaving care. Additionally of the 26,000 young people who are currently homeless across Australia, 63% have a care experience. Many of these young people face homelessness due to a lack of planning and support prior to leaving care. A key outcome of extending the leaving care age to 21 across all states and territories would be a reduction of homeless rates amongst young people with a care experience.
CREATE’s position paper, ‘Transitioning from Care’ (2016) calls for the raising the leaving care age from 18 to 21 years of age. CREATE advocates that support be provided to young people in care, up to the age of 25. CREATE will continue to work with state and territory governments to ensure that they keep listening to young people about their care experiences and that their views and opinions are heard.CREATE’s Foundation’s research (McDowall 2016) found about half of young people leaving care do not know how to adequately deal with financial issues or accommodation, and face deep uncertainty about what the future would hold for them. However, those who had a plan felt more confident about the future than did those without a plan.
CREATE is working to ensure that children and young people in out-of-home care are able to successfully transition from care and are appropriately supported to do so. We are proud to stand with over 100 organisations to supports the ‘Home Stretch’ campaign that supports young people in the care system having the option to remain in care until the age of 21.
Want to show your support? Sign up to join the Home Stretch campaign and help to #makeit21
CREATE Foundation (2016). Transitioning from Care: Position Paper. Sydney: CREATE Foundation
Flatau, P. R., Thielking, M., Mackenzie, D., Steen, A., Bauskis, A., & Nolan, K. (2015). The Cost of Youth Homelessness in Australia Study: Snapshot Report 1: the Australian Youth Homeless Experience. Melbourne: Swinburne University’s Institute for Social Research.
McDowall, J.J. (2009). CREATE Report Card 2009 – Transitioning from care: Tracking progress. Sydney: CREATE Foundation
McDowall, J.J (2016). CREATE’s Go Your Own Way resource for young people transition from care in Australia: An evaluation. Sydney: CREATE Foundation.