Send an email
[Copy the text below – and don’t forget to add your own personal perspective / change to suit yourself]
Dear Chief Minister / Minister
I am writing to urge the Northern Territory Government to make a positive reform by extending the leaving care age to 21 for those in the Territory’s state care.
Each year more than 80 young people in NT are put at serious risk of becoming homeless on their 18th birthday. That’s because under current Territory law, all state support for kids in foster, kinship or residential care cuts out when they turn 18.
In an era when most young Australians stay in their family home well into their 20s – the Northern Territory Government asks our most vulnerable teens to move out on their 18th birthday.
Within a year more than half will be homeless, unemployed, in jail or have become a new parent. Many will experience a severe decline in their mental health caused by the daily battle to survive.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
In the lead up to the Northern Territory election, I am urging the NT Government to change the law to give young people the option of extended care until 21.
It’s a move that has already been adopted in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand with great success – and locally, the Tasmanian, South Australian, Victorian and Western Australian governments have come on board.
Research shows that by extending care to 21, we would halve homelessness, keep care leavers involved in education and give them more chance of finding a job.
I wouldn’t ask my own child to leave home at 18, so why is it ok for the Northern Territory to do it to kids in their care?
I urge you to consider this important reform which will benefit NT’s most vulnerable young people, and ultimately break the cycle of poor outcomes for their families for generations to come.