The OOHC agency that managed the young person’s last placement is responsible for providing or arranging support until 25 years of age. When a care leaver reaches out for help it is important to provide whatever assistance you can, even if you did not have direct involvement with their time in care.
It’s important you discuss the different forms of after care support that are available and recommend services or make referrals based on the wishes of the client and their needs at that point in time. For example, you can provide help with:
- identifying and clarifying the client’s needs including the level of urgency
- reviewing and amending the client’s Leaving Care Plan if that is part of your role
- linking the client back to their OOHC provider if necessary or appropriate
- joining the young person with services such as Centrelink and targeted products like the Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA)
- helping young people find accommodation, access education or vocational training, counselling, employment, legal advice, health services or professional services
- providing advice about other government or non-government agencies that can help with family searching, family mediation and family reunion services
- accessing their OOHC file and personal documentation.
To access TILA funding, caseworkers must apply on behalf of the young person using the NSW TILA application form and sending it to Southern Youth and Family Support (SYFS) via email@example.com or fax 4240 4891. Caseworkers do not need to contact DSS directly, instead all questions and applications must be sent to SYFS.
Certain information held by FACS or their agency and former foster carers should be given to the young person when their care order expires and include (but are not limited to):
- birth certificate
- medicare care
- Certificate of Aboriginality (Common Seal)
- school reports
- medical reports
- personal photographs
- personal possessions
Talk with the carer, because on leaving a placement, young people are allowed to keep any personal effects, clothing, equipment such as wheelchairs or furniture that may have been purchased for them while in care.
In addition to Centrelink and other benefits, those who left statutory care for independence aged 15 or older may be eligible for financial assistance from FACS. Refer to the Guidelines for the provision of assistance after leaving care.
If a care leaver cannot access support from their existing provider, for example they have moved or do not wish to communicate with them, they can seek support from a Specialist Aftercare service.
FACS caseworkers can view the Casework Practice site for Leaving Care and After Care for guidance on working with the young person and carer to agree on clear goals (FACS login required).