Supporting young people
Young people in out-of-home care need support and guidance as they move towards adulthood and being responsible for their own lives.
Service providers in the permanency support system must support every young person’s plan for their future from 15 years old. This will help young people build towards their long-term goals and aspirations.
The Permanency Support Program (PSP) also requires these service providers to support young people up to the age of 25 years, to help them make the transition to adulthood successful.
Leaving Care plans
To help them make the transition to independence, the Care Act 1998 requires out-of-home care service providers to develop comprehensive, person-centred leaving care plans for every young person aged 15 years or over.
All leaving care plans should be consistent with Transitioning from out-of home care to independence: A nationally consistent approach to planning. They should also meet the NSW child safe standards for permanent care.
Leaving care plans should:
- focus on preparing young people for adulthood and help them identify their future goals
- meet the specific needs and goals of each young person
- be flexible enough to change as a young person’s circumstances and goals change.
For example, if a young person wants to move into rental accommodation, learn to drive and begin vocational training at TAFE, the plan can identify what courses are relevant to their goals and where they get financial help.
Funding for plans
Commencing from 1 July 2018, the PSP will support service providers to develop leaving care plans through payment of an annual leaving care funding package. This applies from 15 years until the young person leaves care.
The leaving care package funds NGO practitioners to spend extra time with young people to develop and ‘make real’ their leaving care plans.
Under the leaving care package, NGO practitioners can:
- dedicate time to develop the leaving care plan with a young person
- access staff support and supervision for the planning process
- identify what services to broker (buy) as part of the planning
- help young people connect with universal services and support, such as joining a local youth group, accessing tutoring and learning to drive.
Supporting young people for longer
Leaving care plans should identify any supports needed and actions to be taken to assist the young person transition to independence until the age of 25 years. Support can include advocacy, assistance, advice, or help to connect to other services they might need.
If a young person aged between 18 and 25 years needs to access any specialist aftercare services, funding is available through non PSP programs.
For young people:
For service providers:
- Permanency Support Program funding program
- Guidelines for the provision of assistance after leaving out-of-home care
- Transitioning from out-of home care to independence: A nationally consistent approach to planning
- NSW child safe standards for permanent care
For foster, relative and kinship carers: