Social agencies call for out-of-care age to be extended to 21
UP TO half the young people leaving foster and child safety residential care in Victoria are becoming homeless within two years, social agencies say.
In 2014-15, more than 410 young people who accessed specialist homeless services across the state said their transition from out-of-home care was the main reason they were seeking help.
Almost two-thirds of them were young women.
The figures come from the Council to Homeless Persons which, with Anglicare Victoria, is lobbying for the period of out-of-home care to be extended from 18 to 21 years of age.
Council chief executive officer Jenny Smith said the existing system was not working and failed to give many young Victorians leaving care the best start in life.
“Parents today provide active support for their children well into their 20s, as young people negotiate an increasingly complex and extended transition to full independence,” Ms Smith said.
“As a community we must do the same for these vulnerable young people.”
Families, Children and Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos said the State Government was undertaking an ambitious reform agenda, the Roadmap for Reform, to examine child protection and families services from the ground up.
“We are helping young people living in out-of-home-care transition to independent adult life by ensuring a care and transition plan is developed, along with access to a number of services,” Ms Mikakos said.
“We’re investing over $10 million a year in leaving care support programs, including mentoring and specialised services like the Springboard program for young people leaving residential care and specific services for Aboriginal young people leaving care.”
The Minister plans to attend a Council to Homeless Persons forum today to launch the latest issue of the national homelessness magazine Parity. The issue focuses on preventing homelessness for young Victorians leaving out-of-home care.
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