IN October last year, Community News launched a campaign highlighting the need for WA to implement Home Stretch — a national initiative that supports young people in State care until the age of 21.
Today, the State Government has announced that a Home Stretch trial will start in April with 20 young people.
The Department of Communities will partner with Anglicare WA to implement a trial in the south metropolitan region that provides enhanced support to vulnerable young people aged 18-21 transitioning from out-of-home care to independence.
The trial will include one-on-one support and a safety net fund to provide stable living arrangements and facilitate access to health, education and life skills services.
Anglicare WA chief executive Mark Glasson said the pilot would be the first step towards achieving a better outcome for all young people with a State care experience.
“The involvement of young people with a State care experience was critical to the pilot design,” Mr Glasson said.
“They have the lived experience and know best what the young people taking part in the trial will need.
“We believe the Home Stretch trial will comprehensively demonstrate the benefit to both the participants, and the broader community of increasing the leaving care age to 21.”
Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said research suggested that young people who had these supports were more likely to move in to work or further education and were less likely to experience unemployment, homelessness or contact with the justice system.
Children in State care are largely left to fend for themselves once they turn 18, making them our most vulnerable young people.
Community News is supporting Home Stretch, a national campaign urging all state governments to change legislation to support them until they are 21.