The State Government has committed to funding the needs of vulnerable young people in care up to age 21 so they can be better supported as they take the major step to adulthood.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a historic milestone for Queensland and one that would ensure all vulnerable young people leaving care were given a fair go.
“We want to see young people who are leaving care succeed,” she said.
“We want to see them find work and get a qualification, and we want to support them to become confident, skilled young adults.
“That’s why we are committing to provide additional support to young people leaving care up to 21 years.
“Giving these young people more meaningful opportunities to secure accommodation and take up tertiary education and training will undoubtedly lead to greater employability and increased earning potential – and these are vital if we want to see them succeed.”
Minister for Children Leanne Linard said the changes were a commitment to continue to walk alongside people in care as they transition to adulthood.
“By extending support to young people up to the age of 21, we are saying to them – you are not alone in taking those daunting first steps towards your independence,” Ms Linard said.
“This will be life-changing for many young people. When I meet with young people in care, they consistently tell me what this additional support would mean for them.
“From 2023-24, we will be extending the availability of the foster care allowance by two years for carers of young people who remain living with them, up to the age of 21.
“We will also be funding culturally appropriate non-government case worker support and financial support for young people leaving non-family-based care.
“Young people aged 18, 19, 20, or 21 still need help. It’s when teenagers become young adults and it’s a crucial time in a person’s life.
“Extending post care support will help young people feel empowered; it will help build self-confidence, self-esteem, and give them the skills they need to live independently in adulthood.
“I am proud to deliver this reform for young Queenslanders.”
Jacqui Reed, the CEO of CREATE Foundation, the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience, welcomed the news.
“The Queensland Government has taken a bold and important step to protect young care leavers in Queensland transitioning from the care system to adulthood,” she said.
“Young care leavers will now be able to be supported till they are 21 years, a much more realistic age to be transitioning in today’s society.
“Minister Linard has made an historical commitment to young Queenslanders which will remain a legacy for the future.”
$200,000 has been committed in the 2022-23 Budget for work to prepare for their implementation including holding focus groups with young people across the State to hear directly from them about what kind of support they want, while funding for allowances and support has been provisioned for from 2023-24.