Child Safety uses effective transition to adulthood planning to give young people the best chance of thriving and developing resilience and life skills.
This is made more likely by them having:
- safe relationships with family, community and culture
- strong safety and support networks
- plans for education, training or employment
- access to safe and stable accommodation, financial support, health services and community services
- knowledge of who to contact for assistance.
In 2018, legislative amendments were made to the Child Protection Act 1999 (the Act) to strengthen support for the transition of young people in care to adulthood due to:
- the recognition that it is a community norm for most young people to need support well beyond their 18th birthday
- the understanding that young people are still very much developing into their mid-twenties.
Child Safety actively supports a young person from age 15 in preparing for adulthood and the end of their child protection order.
When young people turn 18, if there are outstanding case plan goals and support is required to meet those goals, continued case work and planning can be provided through a support service case.
To ensure help is available to assist young people in their transition from care to independence up to the age of 25 years, Child Safety has commissioned a number of services to assist with the transition to adulthood by providing support for housing, education, employment, legal advice, health and emotional support.
One significant service is the Next Step Plus program. The vision of Next Step Plus is that all young people are resilient and supported, with the skills, capacity and capability to be the person they want to be. Working in partnership with Child Safety and other agencies, the services can support young people aged between 15 - 25 years who have been in care under a child protection order on or after their 12th birthday.
The Act includes permanency principles which we need to consider at all phases of the child protection continuum. They are:
Positive, loving, trusting and nurturing relationships with significant others, which may include the young person’s parents, siblings, carers, guardians and friends.
For transition to adulthood, we need to support relationships with carers and family to ensure young people have a range of people as part of their safety and support network.
Safe, stable living arrangements with connections to the young person’s community, that meets the young person’s needs.
For transition to adulthood, young people will have a stable carer, guardian or parent to live with or their own place for independent living.
Legal arrangements associated with permanency, providing long-term stability, for example, long-term guardianship orders, permanent care orders, Family Court orders or adoption.
For transition to adulthood, when a young person’s child protection order expires, they will be supported in taking on adult responsibility for themselves or will have an adult guardian to assist.
Child placement principle
When planning for adulthood with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, we take section 5C(2) of the Act into account. This lists the five core elements of the child placement principle, which are:
We offer an opportunity for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young person to identify an independent person to support them in making decisions about planning for transition to adulthood.
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