ACT legislates life-changing, first-of-its-kind reform for vulnerable young people in state care

ACT legislates life-changing, first-of-its-kind reform for vulnerable young people in state care

Wednesday 26 June 2024

The Home Stretch campaign has congratulated the Barr Government for being the first jurisdiction to successfully legislate extended support for young people in state care to the age of 21.

Home Stretch national Chair Paul McDonald said the landmark Bill, passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly today, showed a genuine commitment to changing the lives of the most vulnerable young people in the government’s care for generations to come.

“Minister for Children, Youth and Family Services Rachel Stephen-Smith, with the Barr Government, have listened to the evidence and the lived experience of young people and shown national leadership in being the first of all states or territories to legislate extended care to the age of 21,” Mr McDonald said.

“Research shows the Home Stretch reform of extending support past the age of 18 to 21 halves youth homelessness among care leavers, doubles their odds of getting a job or going on to higher education and cuts the chance of them ending up in the justice system. That’s what makes today a brilliant result.”

Home Stretch National Chair Paul McDonald said he hoped the Barr Government’s move would pave the way for other jurisdictions so that every young person leaving care in Australia would benefit.

“All those living in out-of-home care arrangements in ACT, and for those who may be in these arrangements in the years to come, are now guaranteed formal state care and support until they are 21 years old,” Mr McDonald said.


  • The Home Stretch is a national campaign that seeks to extend support for young people in the out-of-home care system to at least the age of 21.
  • This simple reform vastly improves the life chances of these vulnerable young people.
  • All state and territory governments have committed to the Home Stretch reform; the ACT is the first to enshrine it in legislation.

More information about extending care for young people can be found on the Home Stretch website.

Media contact: Ellie Mitchell on 0419 035 117 or


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Every child deserves to be supported into adulthood – extending out of home care until the age of 21 will give thousands of young people the additional guidance they need to have a real shot at life.


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