The Andrews Labor Government is supporting young Victorians in out-of-home care through a landmark program that extends the age they can receive much needed support, from 18 to 21 years.
Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan today launched the $11.6 million program, which will help more young people in care to successfully transition to independence.
This investment will allow about 250 young care leavers to take up the Home Stretch option. It will provide an accommodation allowance to continue supports for young people and carers in kinship or foster care living arrangements, and will help young people in residential care with alternative accommodation, up to the age of 21.
Case work support and flexible funding will help these young people to plan for and achieve their goals across different life areas including education, employment and health and wellbeing.
This program builds on significant Labor Government investments in out-of-home care supports, including more than $5 million each year for the Springboard program that provides links to employment and training.
A further $2.3 million investment supports the continuation of the Better Futures trial in Southern Victoria, which provides tailored support – including education, employment advice and life coaching – to a select group of young people aged 16 to 21 currently in out-of-home care.
The $14.2 million COMPASS Social Impact Bond will also support an additional 200 young people to access housing and provide them with a worker to navigate the system, an education specialist, and other support services based on their needs.
Home Stretch provides extra support at a critical time in young people’s lives and is an important initiative under the Government’s Roadmap for Reform.
The Roadmap aims to shift the children and family services system from crisis response to early intervention and prevention, and is backed by a further $858.6 million through the 2018/19 Victorian Budget.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan
“We know teenagers aren’t always ready to leave home as soon as they turn 18, and now vulnerable young people and their carers can make that choice.”
“This landmark program is part of significant investment to help vulnerable young Victorians to transition into confident, healthy and independent adults.”
Quote attributable to Anglicare CEO and Home Stretch Campaign Chair Paul McDonald
“This could well be the most significant reform in the recent history of child welfare. I commend Minister Donnellan’s commitment to breaking the mould and giving our most vulnerable young people the best start to their adult lives.