Informing Australian policy development, program implementation and evaluation to extend care to 21.

Tuesday 27 - Wednesday 28 August 2019

About the symposium

It is unquestionably time for Australian governments to address the costly social and economic consequences of terminating care at 18 years. Every year an estimated 3,000 young people leave state care across Australia. Many of these young people experience poor life outcomes: 50% will end up either homeless, in jail or a new parent within the first 12 months of leaving state care. The Home Stretch Symposium will bring together policy developers, stakeholders and implementers to explore and discuss the challenges and complexities associated with introducing the policy of extending care to 21 years. These discussions will be informed by international and national experts in this policy area.

Who should attend:

  • Australian Federal, State and Territory Government representatives with responsibility for Out of Home Care
  • Peak Bodies for Child and Family Welfare
  • Out of Home Care Service Providers
  • Academics with an interest in Out of Home Care

What you’ll learn:

  • What extending care to 21 means for young people and carers
  • The different models being used internationally and nationally
  • The challenges, enablers and experience of implementation
  • Policy progress in extending care by governments in Australia
Find out more


Day 1: Tuesday 27th August

8.30Registrations Open
9.10Welcome to Country
9.30Opening Address: ‘Extending Care to 21 years in Australia’

Paul McDonald, Chair Home Stretch, CEO Anglicare Victoria
10.00Keynote: International Perspectives
‘Evidence from the United States’

Mark Courtney, Samuel Deutsch Professor in the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago (US)

10.45Morning Tea
11.15Panel: ‘Reality Check: The experience of leaving care’

A CREATE Foundation panel chaired by Eleni Hale, author & former foster child
12.00‘The Carer Perspective: National Survey Findings, 2019’

Presented by Samantha Hague, CEO Foster Care Association of Victoria

12.15‘Young People Transitioning from care: Australian research on outcomes’

Philip Mendes, Associate Professor, Director Social Inclusion and Social Policy Research Unit, Monash University

13.45Keynote: International Perspectives
‘Evidence from the United Kingdom’

Steve Walker, Director of Children and Families at Leeds City Council (UK)

‘Evidence from New Zealand’

Sarah Ashton, Service Manager – Transition to Adulthood, Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children (NZ)

15.05Afternoon Tea
15.35Panel: ‘Implementation of Extended Care to 21 in Australia’

Facilitated by Julie Alexander

Panel members:
Beth Allen, A/Director, Children and Families Policy Department of Health and Human Services (VIC)
Mathew Healey, Executive Director, Engagement and Innovation, Department of Communities (TAS)
Karen Lacy, Manager, Children, Policy and Service Design, department of Communities (WA).
Jodie Robinson, Senior Executive Branch Manager, Children, Youth and Families, Community Services Directorate (ACT)
Fiona Ward, Deputy Chief Executive, Department of Child Protection (SA)
16.30Network drinks
18.30Symposium Dinner. Please register
Full program here

Sign The Pledge

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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