Leaving care

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

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Push and pull: increasing student engagement in Developing Independence : the stage 1 evaluation of the Skills for Independence pilot

Conley L
Fitzroy, Vic. : Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2018.
The Certificate I in Developing Independence is an accredited foundation level course in Victoria for 15-25 year olds who are service-connected and do not have the necessary personal, family and social networks to engage in formal education and training. This report evaluates the delivery of this course through the 'Skills for Independence' pilot program for young people aged 15 to 25 who have experienced a youth justice or child protection order. Drawing on interviews with staff, it investigates the mechanisms and conditions which enable these young people to progress successfully through the course. The evaluation identifies institutional and personal barriers that discourage enrolment and engagement and how these can be addressed.

2018 transitions cohort needs assessment: results from Stage Two - 'high' and 'very high' needs survey

O'Neill D and Jagger R
Wellington N.Z. : Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, 2018.
A study is underway on young people in state care in New Zealand who are at particular risk of not making a successful transition to independence. The study will help inform the design of the government's new Transition Support Service. Stage One assessed the level of need of each young person aged 15-17 years old in care and identified that 378 young people - or 40% - had a 'high' or 'very high' level of need. This report presents the findings of Stage Two of the study, which sought to learn more about the circumstances, needs and service delivery gaps experienced by these young people. Interviews were conducted with 120 social workers working with 96 young people in care and protection and 24 in youth justice sites in urban and rural areas, regarding the presence of a trusted adult in the young person's life, parenthood, school or work participation, behaviour putting themselves or others at risk of harm, impacts of risk taking, mental health concerns, disabilities, substance use problems, need and use of services, multiple needs, living arrangement intentions, desire to remain in or return to a caregiving relationship, living arrangements required, barriers to finding suitable accommodation, and other challenges to successful transition.

Stories of aftercare services and support needs after leaving care: a snapshot from the Stories of Resourcing and Resourcefulness project

Skattebol J, Hamilton M, Thomson C, Blaxland M and Valentine K
Sydney, NSW : Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, 2018.
Many young people who leave out-of-home care struggle to access the support and resources they require for independent living. This report provides insights into these young people's experiences of accessing services in New South Wales, presented in the form of quotes and short case studies. It presents preliminary findings from a larger three-year study, focusing on a smaller sample of 22 young people aged 12 to 26 years old who had left care and were using aftercare or other services. In particular, it focuses on the pathways young people take before accessing aftercare services, and their experience of using aftercare services. These young people's stories reveal the fragmented and crisis-orientated nature of services, and their limited knowledge of aftercare services. All of these young people describe how earlier support from aftercare services would have alleviated many of the difficulties they faced when first leaving care.

From aspiration to opportunity: developing independence in out-of-home care settings

Coddou M and Borlagdan J
Fitzroy, Vic. : Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2018.
The Certificate I in Developing Independence is an accredited foundation level course in Victoria for 15-25 year olds who are service-connected and do not have the necessary personal, family and social networks to engage in formal education and training. This report evaluates stage 2 of a trial of the course with one key group at risk of a poor transition to adulthood - young people in residential care. Stage 1 of the pilot identified several areas for improvement, in particular the need for a preparatory program to develop student readiness and relationships to increase enrolments. Stage 2 incorporated these recommendations, and was trialled again with 34 students in 2017. The evaluation looked at how the young people engaged with the course and the opportunities it offered, how the course supported student capability expansion, how the course integrated into residential care settings and influenced staff culture and practice, and young people's engagement in planning around their futures and goal setting. This report discusses the findings and makes recommendations for further development.

Operation and experience: formative evaluation of the 'Transition from Care to Independence Service'

Oranga Tamariki Evidence Centre (New Zealand), New Zealand. Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children
Wellington N.Z. : Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, 2018.
The New Zealand Government is currently designing a new national transition service to support young people to grow into flourishing adults. To help inform this project, a formative evaluation of two existing services in Auckland was commissioned. The two 'Transition from Care to Independence' (TCI) services - 'Launch' and 'Ka Awatea' - provide a range of services as well as practical support throughout the transition period, such as helping young people get their driver's licence and find somewhere to live. The evaluation sought to understand how the services were operating on-the-ground, along with the experiences of those involved in its delivery, key success factors, and any challenges faced. Interviews were held with a range of stakeholders, including 15 young people, 10 staff members, 6 social workers, and government representatives.

Homelessness in Western Australia: a review of the research and statistical evidence

Kaleveld L, Seivwright A, Box E, Callis Z and Flatau P
Hawthorn, Vic. : Distributed by Australian Policy Online, 2018.
This report provides an overview of homelessness in Western Australia, including its scale and characteristics, key drivers and causes, the effectiveness of current approaches, and gaps in services and in the evidence. The report concludes by considering the potential path forward for addressing homelessness in Western Australia, and the strategic target areas for future responses. Chapters include: measuring homelessness, a profile of homelessness in Western Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics measures, Specialist Homelessness Services Data, homelessness among children and teenagers, deinstitutionalisation and homelessness risks for young people, the drivers of adult homelessness, a profile of Indigenous homelessness, the health and justice dimensions, the costs of homelessness, evidence-based principles for effective homelessness interventions, planning responses to homelessness in Western Australia, priority groups for Western Australia identified in homelessness measures, how the sector is doing in terms of meeting needs in Western Australia, and the way forward.

The impact of transitional programmes on post-transition outcomes for youth leaving out-of-home care : a meta-analysis.

Heerde J, Hemphill S and Scholes-Balog K
Health and Social Care in the Community v. 26 no. 1 Jan 2018: e15-e30
This article reviews the literature on the impact of transitional programmes on young people leaving care. It considers programmes for young people aged 15?24 years old and outcomes regarding housing and homelessness, living independently, school completion and post?secondary education, employment, mental health, and substance use. Nineteen studies were identified, all from the United States, but further research is needed.

Beyond 18, The Longitudinal Study on Leaving Care: Wave 1 research report - transition planning and preparation

Muir S and Hand K
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018.
The Victorian Government has commissioned a study to learn more about the factors associated with successful transitions from out-of-home care. 'Beyond 18: The Longitudinal Study on Leaving Care' will feature case file analysis as well as annual surveys of young people as they make the transition. This report presents findings from the first annual survey, investigating young people's preparations for leaving out-of-home care, including involvement in formal transition planning, school completion, education planning, the development of independent living skills, and accessing services. 202 young people aged 16-19 years old took part. The findings suggest that state legislation and practice guidelines were not often followed and that young people were frequently not involved in formal, structured planning about their future. Some of this appears to be related to caseworkers' focus on meeting young people's most urgent needs, such as having somewhere to live when they leave care, rather than other important but less pressing forms of transition preparation. Future research reports will detail young people's post-care outcomes and the factors influencing their outcomes.

Rates of homelessness among young people in Queensland

Queensland. Family and Child Commission
Brisbane, Qld. : Queensland Family & Child Commission, 2018.
This paper outlines what is known about the rate of homelessness among young people in Queensland, with reference to limitations in the data. It also highlights the over-representation of young people who have had child protection involvement and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. According to the 2016 Census, 4,454 young people aged 12-24 years were homeless in Queensland, and 2016-17 data reveals that 8,081 young people aged 15-24 years accessed specialist homelessness services. The implications for policy are briefly discussed.

Young people leaving care

Western Australia. Office of the Auditor General
Perth : Office of the Auditor General, Western Australia, 2018.
This audit assesses whether the Western Australian Department of Communities is effectively supporting young people in care to transition successfully into independent living. The Department is required to help a child prepare for leaving care and to provide support after they have left care, until they reach the age of 25, with accommodation, education and training, employment, and health care. This audit investigates whether the Department is clear about what it needs to deliver, whether children and young people are getting the support they need, and whether support services are making a positive difference. This report discusses the findings and presents recommendations for the Department's policy and practice. It finds that though support services can make a positive difference, most young people are not accessing them due to limited service capacity. A response from the Department is included.

An evaluation of housing outcomes from a support program for young people transitioning from out-of-home care in Victoria, Australia.

Mendes P and Purtell J
Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care v. 16 no. 2 2016: 1-16
The Stand By Me is a Victorian programme for care leavers at risk of homelessness. It is based on a British scheme where ongoing support is provided by Personal Advisers who remain available to assist young people until 21 years of age. This article presents findings from an evaluation of the programme and highlights key components of the program, including the development of trusting relationships between workers and young people and holistic wrap around support.

A digital world for all?: findings from a programme of digital inclusion for vulnerable young people across the UK

Wilson G and Grant A
Dunfermline Scotland : Carnegie UK Trust, 2017.
"In 2015, the Carnegie UK Trust launched #NotWithoutMe to develop evidence and test innovative engagement techniques to improve digital skills and literacy among vulnerable young people across the UK. Whilst our longterm goal is optimistic, our objective for this programme was far more reserved. Rather than expect transformational outcomes of success for the young people involved, such as gaining employment or further education, we wanted to understand the process of designing and delivering 'digital inclusion' projects with different vulnerable groups. The following report details the main aspects of the #NotWithoutMe programme, key learnings and resulting recommendations for practitioners, policymakers and academics."

Supporting young people transitioning from foster care: findings from a national survey

Fryar G, Jordan E and DeVooght K
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2017.
It is important to understand how state child welfare agencies around the United States are working with young people transitioning to adulthood. This report summarises findings from a survey of Independent Living Coordinators from across the country about the types and range of services and supports they offer. Participants were asked about the maximum age young people can stay in foster care; the age young people typically leave foster care; extended foster care policies; service eligibility and restrictions; and available supports and services across six key domains: post-secondary education; employment and career development; financial capability; securing safe, stable, and affordable housing; accessing and managing health and mental health care; and establishing permanent relationships with supportive adults. Participants were also asked whether they are using any research-based programs or practices. The findings provide a snapshot of the services and supports available, and gaps in service provision.

Evaluation of the Berry Street Stand by Me Program: wraparound support during the transition from out-of-home care

Purtell J, Mendes P, Baidawi S and Inder B
Richmond, Vic. : Berry Street Victoria Inc., 2017.
This is the final report of the evaluation of the Stand By Me program of intensive, holistic, and flexible support for young people transitioning from out-of-home care. The program was trialled in Melbourne's North Western metropolitan region between January 2013 and December 2015 by service provider Berry Street Victoria, and is adapted from the British Personal Adviser model. The program targeted young people who have had the most adverse pre-care experiences - the group of care leavers often observed to have the poorest long-term outcomes and the group least likely to access and receive transitional services as their complex needs and challenging behaviour are typically incompatible with the design of the mainstream leaving care system. The evaluation aimed to investigate how well the Personal Advisor model could be translated to the Victorian context, whether the intended short- and longer-term benefits were achieved, client experiences, use of time and financial resources, key effective elements, and the overall viability of the model as an investment for government. This final report follows on from an Interim Report in 2014 detailing the program's development and its early implementation.

Supporting young people transitioning from foster care: findings from a national survey

Fryar G, Jordan E and DeVooght K
Washington, D.C. : Child Trends, 2017.
Across the states of America, child welfare agencies are offering a wide range of services and supports to youth who are in foster care or have recently aged out of foster care. Drawing on a national survey of state-based Independent Living Coordinators, this report provides information on available services, local eligibility criteria, state trends, use of the evidence-base, and examples of innovation and success, focusing on six service domains critical to successful transitions to adulthood: post-secondary education; employment and career development; financial capability; securing safe, stable, and affordable housing; accessing and managing health and mental health care; and establishing permanent relationships with supportive adults. This report summarises the key findings and national similarities and differences in services. The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Better Housing Coalition and the Children's Home Society of Virginia.

The views of NSW children and young people in out-of-home care: NSW results from the National Out-of-Home Care and NSW Residential Care surveys

Robertson C, Laing K, Butler M and Soliman R
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, FACS Analysis and Research, 2017.
This report presents findings from two state-wide surveys of children in care in New South Wales. The Family and Community Services department conducted two surveys in 2015 with children and young people aged 8-17 years old in care: the NSW Residential Care Survey and the New South Wales component of the new National OOHC Survey. Both surveys report against key factors that influence outcomes for children and young people and enable data to be reported against the child-reported measures of National Standards for Out of Home Care: sense of security; participation; community activity; family connection; family contact; sense of community; children have a significant adult; and leaving care. State and national findings are compared, and information provided on age, gender, Aboriginality, type and duration of current placement, and time spent in care. As well as informing planning, the surveys also provide a valuable opportunity to initiate conversations with children and young people about various aspects of their life, which could contribute to their case plan review and be used to set goals for the year ahead. Overall, the findings are generally encouraging across all types of care.

Specialist homelessness services annual report 2016-17

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017.
This web resource describes the services and clients of specialist homelessness services provided by the government in Australia in 2016/17. Data from the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection. Sections include: Policy framework for reducing homelessness and service response; Clients, services and outcomes; Clients in regional and remote areas; Unmet demand for specialist homelessness services; Client groups of interest; Indigenous clients; Clients experiencing domestic and family violence; Clients with disability; Young people presenting alone; Older clients; Clients with a current mental health issue; Clients leaving care; Clients exiting custodial arrangements; and Children on care and protection orders. Client numbers increased 3% from the previous year to over 288,000.

'There's more to be done - 'sorry' is just a word' : legacies of out-of-home care in the 20th century.

Fernandez E, Lee J, Foote W, Blunden H, McNamara P, Kovacs S and Cornefert P
Children Australia v. 42 no. 3 Sep 2017: 176-197
This article explores the experiences of care leavers who had lived in orphanages and other such institutions between 1930 and 1989 in Australia, focusing on their experiences in care, experiences of maltreatment, leaving care, life outcomes after care, coping strategies and resilience, current service needs and usage, and participation in organisations as well as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It draws on interviews, surveys, and focus groups with child migrants, members of the 'Forgotten Australians', and members of the Stolen Generations and Child Migrants. The findings highlight the extreme neglect and abuse experienced by children in care and its life long impact. The implications for policy, practice and services are discussed.

Passports out of poverty : raising access to higher education for care leavers in Australia.

McNamara P, Harvey A and Andrewartha L
Children and Youth Services Review 20 Jul 2017: Advance online publication
This article explores higher education among care leavers in Australia, including pathways, access, and achievement. It draws on surveys and interviews with senior personnel from the higher education and community service sectors, and is part of a broader study that will also involve a review of the literature and data sets. The findings from this qualitative part of the study highlight the impact of childhood poverty, trauma and disadvantage on educational participation and outcomes.

The complexities of cultural support planning for Indigenous children in and leaving out-of-home care : the views of service providers in Victoria, Australia.

Baidawi S, Mendes P and Saunders B
Child and Family Social Work v. 22 no. 2 May 2017: 731-740
There are various policy and legislative initiatives in Victoria to support the connection between Indigenous children and young people in state care and their culture and community. This article explores cultural support planning for Indigenous young people leaving care, drawing on focus groups with seven child and family welfare agencies. It investigates the impacts, barriers, benefits, and limitations of cultural support planning, the shortcomings of current systems, tensions in the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies, and disinterest by some Indigenous young people in connecting to their culture and community. Strategies to improve service delivery were also discussed.

Paying attention to the future: piloting the Certificate 1 in Developing Independence in out-of-home care settings

Hart A, Borlagdan J and Mallett S
Fitzroy, Vic. : Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2017.
The Certificate I in Developing Independence is an accredited foundation level course in Victoria for 16-25 year olds who are service-connected and do not have the necessary personal, family and social networks to engage in formal education and training. It has previously been run with young people who were at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness, and in 2015 the community service organisations Berry Street and the Child Protection Society approached the Brotherhood of St Laurence to trial the program with young people in out of home care - a group at risk of a poor transition to adulthood. A pilot has now been trialled in several locations around Melbourne. This report presents the findings of stage 1 of the evaluation, focusing on implementation and engagement issues, which aims to identify viable strategies for enrolment and completion.

Leaving care and at risk of homelessness : the Lift Project.

Clare M, Anderson B, Bodenham M and Clare B
Children Australia v. 42 no. 1 Mar 2017: 9-17
The Living Independently for the First Time (LIFT) Project was established in mid 2015 by managers and practitioners from the Western Australia Department for Child Protection and Family Support Midland District, Swan Emergency Accommodation, and the Housing Authority of WA. One goal of the LIFT Project is to learn by doing to develop inter-agency policies and practices to support an integrated relationship-based service that prevents the homelessness of vulnerable care leavers. This article describes the history, vision and initial impact of the LIFT Project, within the context of developments in leaving care policy and practice in Western Australia and nationally from the mid-1990s.

Child protection

Donnelly G
Sydney : General Purpose Standing Committee, 2017.
Child protection systems are an ongoing issue for most jurisdictions. This inquiry investigates the procedures, practices, and systems of New South Wales, including the role of the Department of Family and Community Services. Topics include: capacity and effectiveness to notify, investigate and assess; adequacy and reliability of safety and risk assessment tools; the amount and allocation of funding and resources to both government services and non-government organisations; support, training, and monitoring of foster and kinship carers; oversight of service providers; initiatives and outcomes for at risk Indigenous children; and funding for universal supports, targeted prevention, and early intervention programs. This report presents the inquiry's findings and recommendations, as well as dissenting statements and a listing of submissions and hearings.

Specialist homelessness services 2015-16

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017.
This web resource describes the services and clients of specialist homelessness services provided by the government in Australia in 2015/16. Data from the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection. Sections include: Policy framework for reducing homelessness and service response; Clients, services and outcomes; Clients in regional and remote areas; Unmet demand for specialist homelessness services; Client groups of interest; Indigenous clients; Clients experiencing domestic and family violence; Clients with disability; Young people presenting alone; Older clients; Clients with a current mental health issue; Clients leaving care; Clients exiting custodial arrangements; and Children on care and protection orders. In this period, 279,000 people were assisted by specialist homelessness agencies across Australia, though 275 requests for assistance were unable to be met each day.

Children in care report card: how children in care are faring in comparison to their peers in the community : 2016 report

Anglicare Victoria
Melbourne : Anglicare Victoria, 2016.
This report card highlights differences in the health, education, and life opportunities of children in out of home care in Victoria and the general child population. It presents infographics on outcomes in physical health; emotional and social development; learning, education and employment; continuity of care and stability; family and social relationships; Indigenous identity and connection to culture; and self-care. This 2016 report also presents data on leaving care. Data is taken from the Looking After Children (LAC) assessment and progress records of 254 children and young people in foster, kinship, residential, and therapeutic foster care, conducted between January 2015 and June 2016.

Striving for independence: two-year impact findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living evaluation.

MDRC (Organization)
New York : MDRC, 2016.
"Young adults with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody often experience poor outcomes across a number of domains, on average, relative to their peers. While [U.S.] government funding for services targeting these groups of young people has increased in recent years, research on the effectiveness of such services is limited, and few of the programs that have been rigorously tested have been found to improve outcomes. The Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation is testing whether the Transitional Living program, operated by the social service organization Youth Villages, makes a difference in the lives of young men and women with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody. The program, which was renamed 'YVLifeSet' in April 2015, is intended to help these young people make a successful transition to adulthood by providing intensive, individualized, and clinically focused case management, support, and counseling. The evaluation uses a rigorous random assignment design and is set in Tennessee, where Youth Villages operates its largest Transitional Living program. From October 2010 to October 2012, more than 1,300 young people were assigned, at random, to either a program group, which was offered the Transitional Living program's services, or to a control group, which was not offered those services. Using survey and administrative data, the evaluation team measured outcomes for both groups over time to assess whether Transitional Living services led to better outcomes for the program group compared with the control group's outcomes ... This third report uses administrative data to assess the program's impacts in three of the original six domains - education; employment and earnings; and criminal involvement - during the second year after study enrollment. Taken together, the one- and two-year results show that participation in the Transitional Living program had modest, positive impacts on a broad range of outcomes. The program boosted earnings, increased housing stability and economic well-being, and improved some outcomes related to health and safety. However, it did not improve outcomes in the areas of education, social support, or criminal involvement."

The importance of individual personal factors : the experiences of care leavers who went to university.

Matheson I
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 46 Dec 2016: 42-54
Drawing on the author's doctoral study into higher education and young people from out of home care in New Zealand, this article explores the individual personal factors of those young people who went on to university, which include resilience, aspiration, social support, and a sense of belonging at school. Concerningly, the role of serendipity in these young people's lives was also raised. The findings have implications for improving school retention.

Navigating opportunities for young people in care.

Jurczyszyn R
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 46 Dec 2016: 29-41
Drawing on my thesis study (Jurczyszyn 2013), I present selected findings which shed light on how care leavers can be better supported in their pursuit of higher and further education. In this paper I focus on the role of graduate endurance, exploring how, despite the odds, a small number of care leavers successfully transition from OOHC to higher education. It is hoped that this discussion contributes to the formulation of policy and practice designed to increase educational opportunity and encouragement, and assistance and support, for these young people. (Publisher abstract)

Care leavers in Australian higher education : towards evidence-based practice.

Harvey A, Andrewartha L and Luckman M
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 46 Dec 2016: 6-18
Though the educational disadvantage faced by care leavers is well-documented, universities lack specific information to be able to better attract, retain, and serve this vulnerable group of young people. This article looks at how care leavers could best be supported in tertiary education, from an equity point of view. It discusses educational needs, tailored interventions, and strengthening the national evidence base to support good practice. The article draws on a 2015 report by the authors which featured interviews with service providers and senior equity representatives from universities.

Risk, adverse influence and criminalisation: understanding the over-representation of looked after children in the youth justice system

Staines J
London : Prison Reform Trust, 2016
An inquiry is underway into the over-representation of looked after children in England and Wales and how it can be addressed. This companion report reviews the international literature on looked after children and young people's involvement in the youth justice system, including risk and protective factors prior to entry to care; relationships, interventions and experiences during care periods; transitions out of care; and the policies and practices within both the care and youth justice systems that increase or reduce the chances of a looked after child becoming involved in the youth justice system.
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