In 2011 the Department completed a review of its policy and practice for planning and supporting young people leaving care and transitioning to independent living. Ensuring young people are adequately prepared and that supports are in place well before they leave care is critical to long term positive outcomes.
In preparing for leaving care, young people and their case workers will need to consider things like:
- where to live and what help they can get to set up their own home,
- whether to study at TAFE or university, do an apprenticeship or get a job,
- what life skills they’ll need,
- what supports they'll need, and
- where they can get ongoing support once they’ve left care.
All of these things, and more, should be part of the planning for leaving care.
The Department’s three phased model for leaving care provides support to young people transitioning from care at the key stages of preparation, transition and aftercare.
Leaving care Child History file
When young people are leaving care, or have left care, they can access any personal information held by the Department on their Child History file, which contains:
- their birth certificate and/or information to the extent that such information is available
- their passport, where applicable
- any school report or other report relating to their education
- photograph(s) of themselves (excluding photographs that depict harm or are of a forensic nature)
- any other document or material relating to them that is prescribed, or of a class prescribed, in the regulations
- a copy of their Care Plan or Provisional Care Plan and any changes to it
- information about their health, including a copy of any medical records or immunisation records
- information about their cultural, ethnic, religious and family background to the extent that such information is available
- any other information considered by the Chief Executive Officer to be relevant to them.
Preparation for leaving and after care services
The Department funds three Community Sector organisations to provide preparation for leaving and after care support services. These services assist young people throughout the transition from care, and can start to work with them from 16 years of age in metropolitan areas and 14 years of age in country areas.
In addition to the support provided by Leaving Care Services, young people who have left care can seek aftercare assistance from the Department. Young people may approach any Departmental District office for assistance, at any time, until they reach 25 years of age.
More information on leaving care supports is available through the Department’s Casework Practice Manual.