Source: Government of Queensland Regions
Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer said Transition to Adulthood month would give a voice to young people by highlighting their experiences of transitioning from the child protection system to living independently as adults.
“For any young person, that transition from being a young person living at home with Mum and Dad to living independently as an adult is a time which can be exciting, but it’s also challenging,” she said.
“Kids don’t turn 18 and suddenly they’re an adult, they still rely on the support of their families and other trusted adults to help them navigate their way to independence.
“For young people leaving care, the transition can be more complex as they may not have the same kinds of supportive family structures or the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to draw on, which can make it more difficult to find stability in housing, education, and employment.
“But with support around them, our young people leaving care have all the potential and opportunity as any other.
“That’s why this month is so important – it draws attention to the challenges but also heralds the opportunities that await as they continue to develop their independence.
“This year’s theme Road to Independence. Journey to Success is really about saying that a young person’s transition is more than just the moment they leave care, it’s a journey and their needs change over time.”
Ms Farmer said this month the Department will seek applications to implement the Next Steps Plus initiative from early 2020.
“In 2019-20, we will invest $5.5 million in Next Steps After Care services, but young people and service providers have indicated that we needed to do more,” she said.
“This will see us invest an additional $2.5 million over three years to further support young people during and after transition to adulthood,” she said.
“This will help provide better supports including mentoring, as well as pathways to housing, support for mental health, parenting skills, higher education and training as well as job readiness.
“Last year we amended legislation to make sure transition planning begins for every child in care at the age of 15 and remains in place until the age of 25.
“This year we announced we will extend carer allowances for young people turning 18 who were still in school to remain in their foster or kinship care placement while they finish their studies, to take away that uncertainty for young people.
“From June 2020 this support will extend to young people in care up to the age of 19, committing an additional $2.39 million”.
Transition to Adulthood month occurs every November and is hosted by the CREATE Foundation with support from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and a wide range of other community organisations.
CREATE Foundation are a national body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience. The Queensland Government has funded CREATE over $900,000 in 2019-20 to support and provide a voice for young people in care across Queensland, including a new regional hub established in Townsville.
The organisation’s Chief Executive Jacqui Reed emphasised the importance of bringing awareness to the lived experiences of young people when they are leaving the care system. CREATE promotes and facilitates events held throughout the month, where young people with a care experience share their insights and stories.
“Through these gatherings, we can all learn more about the issues for young people and how each of us can step up and a make a difference to their lives as they transition to adulthood,” she said.
“The goal is success for every young person leaving care.
“We look forward to hearing the voices of young people with a care experience during the events held throughout the month, but we especially want to see real action to support their successful transition.”
Ms Farmer said the journey to become independent ultimately sets the direction for a young person’s transition to adulthood.
“We want the best outcomes possible for every child who exists care, and we will continue our reforms to back that commitment up,” she said.
“I will also be seeking the support of the corporate sector to enable these young people to get the same opportunities as other young people their age.
“Recently we hosted an expo with government agencies for young people participating in The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program. I want to extend an invitation to our corporates and businesses to join in supporting young leaving care with jobs and training and other supports.”
Ms Farmer said a launch event at the Old Museum in Brisbane on 7 November was one of the many events taking place throughout November to celebrate Transition to Adulthood month and urged all Queenslanders to find a local event to attend.
To get involved and find events in your community visit http://www.createyourfuture.org.au/t2a.
Media Contact: Cat Milton 0447 117 132