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 their wishes and their needs at that point in time. For example, you can provide help with:
- identifying and clarifying their needs including the level of urgency
- reviewing and amending their Leaving Care Plan if that is part of your role
- linking them back to their OOHC provider if necessary or appropriate
- joining them with services such as Centrelink and targeted products like the Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA)
- helping them 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.
Ensure young people in care and care leavers have a copy of Your Next Step. Explain that Your Next Step:
- outlines the process for planning their exit from care
- details the entitlements of a person leaving statutory care
- helps them identify what they want included in their plan
- can be used to identify living skills that they should develop and
- provides details of the services and supports available to them.
Let them know Your Next Step be found on the FACS website. Search Planning for your future and support after care.
Offer care leavers the financial assistance for care leavers resource so they know they can still ask for financial help up to age 25.
Every young person leaving care should be encouraged 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 DCJ 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
- 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 DCJ. 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.