Extending care: Supporting young people’s transition from out-of-home care to adulthood

Extending care: Supporting young people’s transition from out-of-home care to adulthood

Paul McDonald and Philip Mendes

This webinar discussed recent research on the social and economic benefits of extending care to young people transitioning to adulthood.

Homeless teenage girl on streets with rucksack

This webinar was held on 15 May 2019. 

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube Channel.

The audio, transcript and presentation slides are available under Event Resources on this page. 

A list of resources related to this topic is available on our post-webinar forum.

Young people leaving out-of-home care (OOHC) are a vulnerable population. They are at increased risk of poor mental health and developmental delays, and may experience a lack of affordable housing and poor pathways to employment.

The transition to adulthood without family support can be challenging for young people leaving OOHC after they turn 18 years of age. Some have argued that young people can be better supported during their transition to adulthood by extending care until 21 years of age or later.

This webinar looked at how extending care could improve a range of critical outcomes for these young people. The presenters reviewed how policy has developed over recent decades, and outlined the potential economic benefits of extending care to young people transitioning from OOHC to adulthood. They also discussed the emerging evidence on extended care implemented internationally and considered its implications for policy and practice in Australia.

This webinar is of interest to practitioners working with young people, particularly in OOHC and related social support services.


Featured image: © GettyImages/Daisy-Daisy

About the presenters

Paul McDonald

Paul is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Anglicare Victoria, a leading agency in delivering OOHC and family support to vulnerable children, young people and families. Paul has extensive experience leading various government and non-government social welfare initiatives to improve outcomes for young people. His previous positions have included Deputy Secretary in the Department of Human Services responsible for the leadership and management of Victoria’s Child Protection Services and Youth Justice Program.

Paul is Chair of the Home Stretch Campaign, a national campaign that seeks to stop young people in state care becoming homeless, unemployed or imprisoned when their care ends at 18 years. He was recently appointed State Chair of the Reform of the Out-of-Home-Care System for the Victorian Government, and is current President of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.

Paul was also recently the recipient of the Robin Clark leadership award at the 2017 Victorian Protecting Children Awards. This award recognises a leader who inspires others about achieving the best outcomes for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children, young people and their families.

Philip Mendes

Associate Professor Philip Mendes is the Director of the Social Inclusion and Social Policy Research Unit (SISPRU) in the Department of Social Work at Monash University. Philip has been researching young people leaving state care for 20 years. He is the Australian representative on the Transitions to Adulthood for Young People Leaving Public Care International Research Group and has completed major studies pertaining to youth justice, employment and mentoring programs, disability and Indigenous care leavers. He is currently leading a national study of Indigenous young people leaving care funded by the Sidney Myer Foundation.

Philip has authored/co-authored 12 books including, most recently, Young People Transitioning from Out-Of-Home Care: International Research, Policy and Practice, co-edited with Pamela Snow (2016), the third edition of Australia’s Welfare Wars (2017) and Empowerment and Control in the Australian Welfare State: A Critical Analysis of Australian Social Policy Since 1972 (2018). Prior to entering academia, Philip was a child protection worker in Victoria in 1987–88 and again from 1992–95.