Victorian Government extends care during pandemic
Thursday 23 April February 2020
The Home Stretch campaign has welcomed a Victorian initiative today that extends care arrangements so young people are not forced into homelessness if they turn 18 in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Letters have been sent this week to all state and territory governments urging them to do the same.
Under current arrangements, the majority of young people in state care who turn 18 across the country in 2020 will have their support terminated. Research has shown that this vulnerable group is at much higher risk of homelessness and unemployment compared to others of a similar age – both placing them in harm’s way and increasing the risk of community transmission of COVID-19.
In a letter sent to all state and territory Ministers this week, Home Stretch Chair Paul McDonald requested immediate support for a united national initiative to extend state care for the duration of 2020.
In response to the Victorian announcement today, Mr McDonald said:
“I commend the Andrews Government for this compassionate decision. It will come as a great relief to some of our most vulnerable young people in Victoria.
“The COVID-19 crisis has had a dramatic impact on life for a child in out-of-home care. The flow-on effects to the education, employment and the housing sectors will make it increasingly difficult for a young person to make a positive start to adult life after exiting state care.
“The Home Stretch urges all other states and territories across Australia to follow Victoria’s lead. We must ensure that no young person is put more at risk during these uncertain times. Implementing this interim measure is a prudent and responsible way to fulfil our duty of care to these vulnerable young people.”
Mr McDonald said that countries such as Canada have acted to extend care in the current circumstances, and Australia should urgently follow suit.