CREATE Foundation is the national peak consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience (including kinship care, foster care and residential care).
The following information is provided by CREATE Foundation to assist teenagers who are leaving out-of-home care. If your child is leaving the out-of-home care system then you may be able to help them to access these resources.
Support for children fifteen years or older who are in care or have a care experience.
Most young people in care move out by the time they are 18. Generally young people in care aged between 15 and 18 stop being involved with Child Safety Services at some stage. What that means is that a young person is no longer on a child protection order and no longer has a child protection worker. Young people may have a leaving care worker, but either way it’s time to help young people get ready to leave care and become independent.
Transitioning to independent living
During this time (transition to independence), young people are not obligated to move out of where they are living. If young people do move out, this is called transitioning to independent living! Young people may choose to move out and live in a place that does not have a carer or worker. Some accommodation may be supported and have some support workers available.
Young people have the choice of deciding whether they want to move out with friends or family, or whether they want to live by themselves. All young people transitioning need to learn about new things and gain skills to be independent: the learning of new skills is a crucial part of making their transition to independence.
Young people are likely to experience a range of different emotions – from uncertainty to excitement, confusion to confidence. This is a time when their view of the world will change. Let’s face it – it can be a challenging time. Young people deserve all the support they can get! Leaving care is a transition – moving from one way of life into a new way of life. Young people move toward the life of their choice and they don’t have to do it alone. Young people who leave care are being empowered to take charge of their transition to independence and actively CREATE their future.
The ‘Go Your Own Way’ kit
The main areas of independence that young people require information, advice, and assistance with are all outlined in the GYOW (Go Your Own Way) kit on the CREATE Your Future website (http://createyourfuture.org.au/). These include: identity; education and training; employment and job search; money; health and wellbeing; housing and accommodation; life skills; relationships; and legal rights and responsibilities. The GYOW kit has a checklist to keep young peoples’ transition to independence on track – it’s really handy.
The ‘SORTLI’ app
As well as the GYOW kit, many answers to questions about these areas can be found on SORTLI (a contraction of the phrase ‘sort out your life’). SORTLI is a free mobile app for young people to help them with their transition to independence.
Understandably, a young person taking charge of these areas in their independent life can feel overwhelmed, which makes their transition a challenge. Thankfully, there are numerous services and resources available to young people who age out of state care.
Next Step After Care Service
An important new service is Next Step After Care. Queensland is proud to have its first aftercare service available to young people transitioning to independence. Significantly, Next Step After Care was designed by young people with an out-of-home care experience who strongly advocated for an aftercare service. Next Step After Care services provide help to young people in Queensland aged 15-21 years, who have been in care, to help with any issues, no matter how big or small. Next Step After Care services have funding for every young person in Queensland who ages out of the custody or guardianship of Child Safety Services. This funding can be used as assistance through brokerage (monetary aid), or tailored individual support (a little extra help to assist with independence). In addition, there is a 24/7 state-wide phone number that young people can call or text for assistance that costs nothing: 1800 NEXT STEP (1800 639 878).
Success stories that young people have chosen to share about their experience with Next Step After Care are available at: www.nextstepaftercare.com.au/blog. Additionally, you can find Next Step After Care on Facebook to keep up to date with how Next Step are helping out young people – and as a safe way to get in contact with Next Step After Care.
“It’s the first time I’ve been able to call a place my own.”
“If I could give any advice to other children transitioning out of foster care, [it would be] don’t be afraid to ask Next Step After Care for help.”
“They helped with big things and small things – one time they even bought me groceries.”
oneplace Community Services Directory
oneplace is a new community service directory developed by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. This easily accessible directory of community support services to help Queensland families to get to the right service at the right time, including helping young people and their families get ready to leave care.
oneplace is the go-to resource for children, families, community members and professionals looking to find local support in Queensland. There are more than 46,000 records listed in oneplace highlighting information children, young people and their families need to know about leaving care. When you’re looking for local support services oneplace provides up-to-date and comprehensive listings. oneplace will help you find the right service to support you at the right time.
While your network of friends and family is a logical first place to seek support and advice, there’s also an enormous amount of help available from support services in the community. Professionals whose very job it is to support you in any area you might be struggling. oneplace will help you find the right service to support you at the right time. You can access oneplace here: oneplace.org.au.