Young people's experiences of leaving care and their support needs: Recent research and promising practices

Young people's experiences of leaving care and their support needs: Recent research and promising practices

Stewart Muir, Jade Purtell and Lou Limoges

This webinar discussed young people’s experiences leaving care in Victoria and provided two examples of promising practices in New South Wales.


This webinar was held on Wednesday, 24 July 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.

In most Australian states and territories, out-of-home care arrangements still end when a young person turns 18 years old. For some care leavers, this can result in an abrupt transition into independent living at an age when many young people in the general population are still supported by their parents. Many care leavers also have complex histories of trauma or neglect that can hinder their social and emotional development. Young people need to be supported during this transition to adulthood to help them achieve better outcomes in employment, education and mental health. 

This webinar shared insights into young people’s experiences of leaving care based on recent findings from the Beyond 18 longitudinal study in Victoria. Specifically, it explored what young people involved in the study said about:

  • the challenges they faced when preparing to leave care
  • how they fared after they left care
  • the supports they and other care leavers needed most.

The webinar also discussed two examples of promising practices from Uniting, New South Wales, that aim to better support young care leavers during this transition: an extended care pilot program and the introduction of a youth foyer project that specifically targets care leavers. This webinar is of interest to policy makers and practitioners working with young people across a range of sectors, including out-of-home care, aftercare, mental health, education, employment, homelessness and housing.

Featured image: © GettyImages/Mlenny

About the presenters

Stewart Muir

Stewart is a Senior Research Fellow at AIFS and an anthropologist by training. He has research interests in service provision to families, inequality and life outcomes, and qualitative research methods. In recent years, Stewart has undertaken research on out-of-home care, services for victims of family and domestic violence, behaviour change and the role of evidence-informed practice in service provision and policy making.

Jade Purtell

Jade was a Senior Research Officer at AIFS working on Beyond 18, for which she co-authored the Wave 2 and Wave 3 research reports. Jade previously worked with the Department of Social Work at Monash University on the evaluation of two Victorian leaving care programs and is a PhD candidate researching young people with a care experience and early parenting. Jade is currently working at the Brotherhood of St Laurence as Service Development Coordinator Out-of-Home Care and Leaving Care.

Lou Limoges

Lou has worked at Uniting for 10 years and currently works as a Practice Lead covering a portfolio of programs that are youth, homelessness, leaving or aftercare related. In this role, Lou focuses on program design, implementing quality, evidence-informed practice initiatives and service improvement. Lou has worked in the community services sector for both government and non-government organisations in Australia for over 20 years across education, disability and welfare services. Lou has held several operational leadership positions in a range of different program types and has diverse sector experience.