Young Queenslanders transitioning from care to adulthood will have access to support until they reach 25 years under changes made to state legislation.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said that help was previously only available until the age of 21 for the more than 500 young people who leave care every year.
“With the annual Transition to Independence Month starting today and running through November, I’m delighted to announce that young people who leave care can now access support up to the age of 25,” she said.
“While many young people have strong support networks around them, for young Queenslanders leaving care this isn’t always the case.
“Often they don’t have strong family support and that’s why extending the age of support to 25 is a really positive step and gives them extra time to find their feet.”
Transition to Independence Month was officially launched in Cairns today (1 November) by GForce, a sector-wide working party chaired by CREATE Foundation and made up of government and non – government organisations.
There will be a range of events around the state including an expo in Ipswich on 8 November and a songwriting and storytelling workshop in Brisbane’s West End on 21-23 November.
This year marks three years of the Next Step After Care program, which helps young people after they leave care.
“This is a wonderful program that helps young people with things that many of us take for granted – signing a lease, preparing for a job interview or managing money – which can be incredibly daunting for all young people,” Ms Farmer said.
Ms Farmer said Queensland was making significant changes under the Supporting Families, Changing Futures reforms aimed at promoting positive, long-term outcomes for children and young people.
“As a result of legislative changes made through the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017, we have a greater focus on permanency and stability for children and young people, now and throughout their lives,” she said.
“These changes which started on October 29 place a greater focus on making sure there are conversations and planning under way for a young person’s transition to adulthood from the time they turn 15.
“This will mean young people have greater certainty for the future and can make early decisions on what their life will look like once they leave care, and it will also mean they have a clear plan of how to achieve their goals.”