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Supporting vulnerable young people

Apr 03, 2017

Rachel Sanderson MP
Shadow Minister for Child Protection
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Supporting vulnerable young people


The State Liberals have welcomed AnglicareSA’s campaign Home Stretch to give young people the option of staying in care until 21 and urged the Weatherill Government to drop its resistance to this important policy.

AnglicareSA’s campaign mirrors the Liberal Party policy released in October last year that would increase the age limit for which foster carers and kinship carers can receive support for children in their care from 18 to 21.

“Our policy is driven by the realisation that cutting off support to out of home carers when the young person they are looking after reaches 18 increases the chances of these young adults ending up on the streets or in prison,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.

“AnglicareSA has identified the same problem and advocated for a similar solution.

The National Swinburne study on youth homelessness found that 63% of Australia’s homeless young people has been in care. Another study found that 50% of care leavers will end up in jail, unemployed, homeless or a new parent soon after leaving care.

“It makes no sense to push these vulnerable young people out of their homes the moment they turn 18,” said Ms Sanderson.

“Sky high rents, a very tight jobs market and the absence of a broader familial network all work against these young people being able to find their feet if forced to leave the protection of their foster carers’ home.

“Foster carers who love the children they have been looking after are often unable to continue to support when the carers payment is withdrawn leaving the young people in an incredibly vulnerable situation.

“Those that do continue to support these young people out of their own pocket are consequently much less likely to be able to care for other, younger foster children.”

In 2014-15 Government run residential care in South Australia cost $235,371 per child, per annum.

By way of comparison a foster family is paid just $18,272 per annum for caring for a 16-17 year-old.

 

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