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.
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 will share insights into young people’s experiences of leaving care based on recent findings from the Beyond 18 longitudinal study in Victoria. Specifically, it will explore 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 will also discuss 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 will be 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.