WA Government introduces life-changing reform for thousands of young people
The Home Stretch campaign has congratulated Minister Simone McGurk and Premier Mark McGowan on delivering their election commitment to extend support to 21 years of age for young people in state care. National Chair Paul McDonald commended the West Australian Government for adopting this life-changing, life-saving reform.
“This is a historic moment for the WA Government, and it will be a huge relief for young people in state care. Research shows that the Home Stretch reform will halve youth homelessness among care leavers, double their odds of getting a job or going on to higher education and cut the odds of them ending up in the justice system. It’s a great result with far-reaching and positive benefits,” Mr McDonald said.
“As the responsible parent for vulnerable young people in the child protection system, the McGowan Government will now see demonstrable reductions in homelessness and offending, and equivalent increases in mental wellbeing, as well as employment and education engagement. Everyone wins with this reform.”
Mr McDonald said it was now time for the New South Wales government to follow suit and announce the option of extended care to 21 years. They remain the only state not prepared to extend formal support to young people in state care for three further years.
“The Home Stretch reform is simple and it works. It works for young people by giving them a better shot at a bright future. It works for the community by reducing crime, supporting those at risk rather than leaving them at the mercy of the justice system. And it works for governments, because it actually saves money by providing targeted support early rather than intervening when it’s often too late,” he said.
Research by Deloitte Access Economics showed the following benefits of extending care to the age of 21:
- Every dollar invested paid back at least twice over in future savings
- Homelessness among this group would be halved
- Rates of higher education participation would increase by 2.5 times
- Decreased arrests and hospitalisation
- Alcohol and drug dependence would decrease, from 15.8 per cent to 2.5 per cent
- Reduced costs of delivering additional government services
- Improved mental and physical health outcomes, reduced intergenerational disadvantage and an increase in social connectedness.
More information about extending care for young people can be found on the Home Stretch website.
For further enquiries contact Sarah Baird of Anglicare Victoria on 0419 035 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org