Too Many Kids from State Care on Victorian Streets
- Swinburne University study of young homeless people found that 63% had recently been evicted from foster care.
- Wednesday 18th April is Youth Homelessness Matters Day.
- Extending state care from 18 to 21 halves homelessness amongst largest cohort of rough sleepers.
Victoria is experiencing a shocking increase in homelessness across the state, with the largest single cohort being young people who’ve been evicted from state care.
“Currently in Victoria, we evicted foster kids when they turn 18-years-old. For most, that means there’s no more case workers, no family support. Nothing,” says Deb Tsorbaris, Victorian co-Chair of Home Stretch.
Research steered by Home Stretch, which advocates for the optional extension of foster care from 18 to 21-years, shows that within one year of being evicted from their foster care placement at age 18, many young people will experience homelessness.
“Against the many causes of youth homelessness, one solution stands out as a simple, effective and proven to help vulnerable young people avoid life on the streets”, says co-Chair of Home Stretch Paul McDonald.
“The United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada, rather than cutting foster care off at 18-years, have extended it to an optional 21-years.
Why? In every country that introduced the extension of optional care, the homeless rate for this cohort was reduced by half,” Mr McDonald said.
Ayub Abdi-Barre who grew up in the Victorian foster care system and experienced youth homelessness following his eviction from his care placement when he turned 18, “I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, no regular income, no stable housing and no support network.
The streets were the only place I had to go – I just wish I had a couple more years, a bit more support, to get my life together.”
Home Stretch is calling on the Victorian Government to emulate the Tasmanian and South Australian state governments and extend the age of foster care from 18 to 21-years.
Home Stretch Co-Chairs Paul McDonald & Deb Tsorbaris and foster care leaver Ayub Abdi-Barre are available for interview.