HOME STRETCH: Out-of-home care research project launched at Curtin University

Curtin University Professor Donna Chung with Jessica Murray who will be part of the research project
Curtin University Professor Donna Chung with Jessica Murray who will be part of the research project

JESSICA Murray will be among a group of young people who will share their experiences of transitioning from out-of-home care as part of a Curtin University research project announced on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old will record details of her transition to independent living over the next four years that will become part of the longitudinal study run in partnership with Wanslea and the Department of Communities that will explore the pathways and outcomes of young people in, transitioning from, and who have left out-of-home care.

The project ‘Navigating through Life’ will identify how housing, education, employment, mental health and other available support services could be improved.

In a video shown at the launch, Jessica said education was the key to securing a job.

Lead researcher Professor Donna Chung from Curtin University said almost 50,000 Australian children were living in temporary or permanent out-of-home care with an estimated 4400 from WA.

Monash University Department of Social Work Associate Professor Philip Mendes presented his paper titled ‘Towards better outcomes for young people transitioning from out of home care in WA’ at the launch and will be one of the investigators on the project.

The State Government announced this month it would start a Home Stretch trial with 20 young people.

Prof Mendes said the trial had the potential to develop significant reform in WA.

“A very rigorous evaluation is crucial to determine how housing, education, employment, training, family relationships and early parenting affecting young people leaving care,” he said.

“We want to establish the different experience of those in foster, kinship and residential care.”

Community News is supporting Home Stretch, a national campaign urging all state governments to change legislation to support them until they are 21.

Here’s how YOU can help:

1. Join the Home Stretch campaign at: thehomestretch.org.au

2. Sign up to be a foster carer at: www.dcp.wa.gov.au