Amnesty on termination of foster care in Queensland increasingly urgent as COVID rages
Thursday 3 February 2022
The Home Stretch NationalChair Paul McDonald has called on the Queensland Government to declare an amnesty on terminating foster care for all young people while COVID-19 continues to rage in the state.
Mr McDonald said the rapid rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Queensland made it critical that the government extended care for all young people who would normally age out of care during this period. Support for foster care and other forms of state care are cut off in Queensland once a young person turns 19.
“Even with all the good intentions in the world, young people who have grown up in the state’s child protection system are much more likely to end up homeless within the first year after state care is terminated. With the pandemic far from over, the Queensland Government should introduce an amnesty for the termination of state care, so that these vulnerable young people continue to have a safe place to call home,” Mr McDonald said.
“No Queensland government minister has plans to terminate support for their own children during this pandemic. Likewise, the state government should honour its responsibility to be the responsible parent during this health emergency and provide a real duty of care to vulnerable young people in its out-of-home care system.”
The Home Stretch campaign represents more than 200 organisations calling for the option of state care to be permanently extended to the age of 21 for all young people. At this age they are more prepared to meet the many challenges of adult life rather than being overwhelmed by them.
An independent report by Deloitte Access Economics released towards the end of 2021 found that extending care from 19 to 21 years of age would have a huge positive impact on the lives of vulnerable young people – while saving the economy $407 million over 10 years. The report found a “do nothing” approach would cost the Queensland Government more than $71m over this period.
“Under current arrangements, almost a third of care leavers are jobless and homeless within a year, and many suffer mental and physical health problems. The Deloitte report showed that extending out-of-home care from 19 to 21 would deliver a return to taxpayers of $5.90 for every $1 spent on the initiative, while massively improving these young lives. It’s a no brainer,” Mr McDonald said.
For further enquiries contact Sarah Baird on 0419 035 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.