Support for care leavers in NSW makes history
Young people in out-of-home care now have access to increased support up until the age of 21 as the NSW Government delivers on its commitment to help young people secure a brighter future.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government is investing $100 million over five years to better support vulnerable young people reaching adulthood.
“Turning 18 is an incredibly exciting time in any young person’s life. As a government we want all young people to know that they are supported, no matter what their personal circumstances are. For those who’ve been in care as a child, that support will now extend until you are 21,” Mr Perrottet said.
“If you stay with your family, the government will lend a hand by paying carers an allowance so the whole family can help you succeed in life. For those who choose to leave that family unit, there’s also financial help available. We know it can be a bumpy ride to livingindependently but this support offers some reassurance along the way.”
Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones said young people will still receive a leaving care plan under the changes.
“The Your Choice Your Future package builds on what the NSW Government is already doing to provide a tailored response to young people with a history in care,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.
“Our investment is focused on creating stability so young people can work towards independence and achieve their goals.”
CREATE Foundation CEO Jacqui Reed said this announcement shows the NSW Government has listened to young people’s voices and taken action.
“Just imagine at 18, if you were on the brink of leaving care. This investment will change the lives of these young people as they transition to independence, having a person alongside them, to plan with them, connect them to services and a place to live,” Ms Reed said.
Home Stretch Chair Paul McDonald said extending assistance will bring huge benefits to all young people in care and especially Aboriginal young people.
“We know from other states and territories that we’ll get great outcomes by stepping in to give additional support. This help will reduce the risk of homelessness, or young people ending up in jail. And there’ll be greater engagement in education and employment, along with many other benefits including decreasinghospitalisations, and alcohol and drug dependency,” Mr McDonald said.
The Your Choice Your Future package includes:
- An extension of the Care Allowance to support more young people to remain with their carers until 21
- An expansion of the Aftercare Allowance – a fortnightly payment for any young person who does not remain in their carer’s home and needs assistance until the age of 21
- An expansion of the Specialist Aftercare Program – increasing the availability and location of targeted supports for young people when they leave care.
- Funding for additional caseworkers to further support young people plan for the transition to leaving care
This investment builds on a range of services and programs currently funded by the NSW Government to support vulnerable young people leaving care, including:
- Targeted university scholarships
- Targeted traineeships with Services NSW
- Smart & Skills TAFE – free and subsidised training
- Ladder Program offering coaching and mentoring
- Free Safer Drivers Course and help to obtain a licence within the leaving care plan
- ‘Foyer’ – purpose-built and central Sydney accommodation, offering young out of home care leavers a safe and affordable place to live while they engage in education, training, and employment
The Department of Communities and Justice will work with young people, their carers and funded agencies to introduce the Your Choice Your Future – extending care to secure a brighter future program.
More information on how the NSW Government is securing safety, stability and success for children and families in NSW visit the website.