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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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.

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.

In care, out of trouble: how the life chances of children in care can be transformed by protecting them from unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system : report of an independent review chaired by Lord Laming

Swaine Williams K, Drew J, Lyon J and Laming H
London : Prison Reform Trust, 2016.
Looked after children in England and Wales are significantly over-represented in the criminal justice system - 37% of children in young offender institutions and 39% of those in secure training centres have experience of local authority care. The Prison Reform Trust has commissioned an independent inquiry into the causes of this over-representation and how it can be addressed. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the inquiry. The recommendations work towards 6 outcomes: Strong and determined leadership at national and local level; Early support for children and families at risk; Good parenting by the state; Responding to looked after children in minority groups; Prevention, diversion and rehabilitation; and Supporting young people leaving care. The report is accompanied by a literature review, published separately.

Vulnerable young people: interactions across homelessness, youth justice and child protection : 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016.
Vulnerable young people, such as those with a history of traumatic family experiences or involvement in the criminal justice system, are more likely than their peers to experience homelessness. This report explores the characteristics and issues of these vulnerable children and young people in Australia by matching three datasets: the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection, the Child Protection National Minimum Data Set, and the Juvenile Justice National Minimum Data Set. It investigates the demographics, personal circumstances, drug and mental health issues, service provision and use, and housing outcomes of clients accessing homelessness services, and compares 4 cohorts: children and young people with a history of 1) both homelessness services and child protection, 2) homelessness services and youth justice, 3) homelessness services, child protection, and youth justice, as well as 4) just homelessness services. The findings show that these first 3 cohorts have substance use issues, mental health issues, an over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and receive more support services than those young people who only had contact with specialist homelessness services.

Child protection - a fresh start: Government of South Australia's response to the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report 'The life they deserve'/ Attorney-General's Department, Government of South Australia.

South Australia, South Australia. Attorney-General's Dept.
Adelaide, S. Aust. : Government of South Australia, 2016
The Child Protection Systems Royal Commission submitted their final report in August 2016 into the adequacy of the child protection system in South Australia. The Royal Commission looked at the laws, policies, practices and structures currently in place for children at risk of harm, abuse, or neglect - including those who are under the guardianship of the minister. This paper presents the Government of South Australia's response to the Commission's findings and its recommendations to improve the practices and procedures of the child protection system. The Government is committed to reorienting and building better systems to protect children, improve parenting, and support carers, and has already accepted and begun implementing 42 of the recommendations, including launching the new Department for Child Protection on 1 November 2016.

The out of home care drift : responding to homelessness among care leavers in New South Wales.

Fielding J, Robinson S and Stone C
Parity v. 29 no. 1 Feb 2016: 30-32
Many young people leaving care will end up seeking support from specialist homelessness services. This article considers the factors behind this 'drift' into homelessness and calls on the government to better resource the out of home care sector to support young people in their transition to independence and prevent homelessness.

The housing needs of young people with a disability leaving state care in Victoria.

Mendes P, Snow P and O'Donohue D
Parity v. 29 no. 1 Feb 2016: 23-25
The authors recently completed a study on the experiences of young people with a disability leaving state care in Victoria. This article presents findings from the study relating to these young people's housing outcomes, including their initial post-care accommodation arrangements, returning to their parents, experiences of homelessness, and ongoing housing struggles. The research highlights the need for post-care support and specialist services.

Targeted, tailored and therapeutic : responding to the needs of young people leaving care.

Stockley C
Parity v. 29 no. 1 Feb 2016: 20-22
This article highlights the utility of service packages that combine trauma-informed approaches, collaborative wraparound services, and housing support in assisting young people leaving care.
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