Key elements of a leaving care plan
Leaving care planning should address these key topics or life domains
Financial assistance and entitlements
In many cases young people may be entitled to financial assistance which should be considered in the process of leaving care planning. Knowing what their entitlements are is important for young people and carers to utilise them properly and financially plan ahead.
Caseworkers should provide information and access support for the relevant options as required. Refer to the Guidelines for the provision of assistance after leaving out-of-home care for information about assistance for those leaving statutory care.
The following links provide information about financial support.
Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA)
TILA is a one-off payment of up to $1,500 to help young people aged 15 – 25 years get the best possible start when leaving out-of-home care. TILA is provided by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) and in NSW is administered by Southern Youth and Family Support (SYFS).
The completed NSW TILA application form is sent to SYFS and they will gain approval for the TILA expenditure from DSS. Caseworkers do not need to contact DSS directly, instead all questions and applications must be sent to SYFS.
TILA helps young people achieve care plan goals. It can be used for a range of things, including:
- white goods - fridge, washing machine
- kitchen appliances - microwave, toaster, blender, mixer
- furniture - lounge room and dining room suites, coffee table, TV stand/entertainment unit, bed and bedroom furniture
- bedding and linen - mattress, sheets, pillows, doona, rugs, towels
- food and clothing
- one-off transport expenses - driving lessons, car or motor-cycle purchase, registration, insurance, car/motor-cycle repairs to make it roadworthy, push-bike
- educational expenses - laptop or desktop computer, clothing for school, textbooks, enrolment fees for school, TAFE or University, broadband connection
- employment expenses - work tools, interview and work clothes
- bus and train passes
- utility connection fees - phone, electricity and gas connections.
Teenage Education Payment
Teenage Education Payment (TEP) – for those aged 16 to 17 years, up to $6,000 per year (paid in $1,500 quarterly instalments) to help foster and kinship carers to keep young people in their care at school or in training. Use it to pay for everyday school or training expenses as well as camps, excursions or additional tutoring.
Post Care Education Financial Support (PCEFS)
Post care education financial support for carers – for those aged 18 to 24 years to complete their NSW Higher School Certificate. Paid to the carer to maintain their current living and support arrangements. For more information read our Post Care Education Financial Support FAQs and Post Care Education Financial Support - Procedures for NGO providers.
Allowances from Centrelink
Youth Allowance – financial help for 16 - 24 year olds studying, undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship, looking for work or sick. The allowance is available to those:
- 16 to 21 and looking for full time work, or
- 18 to 24 and studying full time, or
- 16 to 24 and a full time Australian Apprentice, or
- 16 to 17 and independent or needing to live away from home to study.
Payments for students and trainees
Eligible students, trainees and Australian Apprentices can receive financial help with everyday costs of living and some study expenses. Centrelink offers students 4 main payments:
- Youth Allowance
- Austudy - income support payment for 25 or older full time students or Australian Apprentices.
- ABSTUDY - financial help for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and Australian Apprentices.
- Assistance for Isolated Children - a group of payments for parents and carers of children who can't go to a local state school because of geographical isolation, disability or special needs.
Find out more about eligibility and other support for students.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) student loans - support for those studying certain diploma level and above vocational education and training qualifications. Eligible students are entitled for loans up to a capped amount.
Alternative solution to paying off a fine
Work Development Order - If a young person doesn’t have the money to pay a fine, they can ask to be issued with a WDO. Under a WDO, they can reduce their fine by doing unpaid work, or attending certain approved courses or programs.
Other financial support options
National Debt Helpline - A not-for-profit service that helps people tackle their debt problems.
Salvos - The Salvos provide help with housing, job seeking, financial support, problem gambling, addiction and domestic violence.
Vinnies - Vinnies can help young people get around roadblocks to do with housing, finances, health support, food support and domestic violence.