ACWA's Leaving Care Issues and Campaigns
Leaving Care Plans
The focus of ACWA’s Leaving Care Working Party’s activities during 2011 was on improving consistency in leaving care practices. More consistency in Leaving Care Plans would impact on important outcomes including stable exits for young people, better health and education outcomes.
As part of the campaign, ACWA called on Family and Community Services (FACS) to adopt a Leaving Care Flowchart and Leaving Care Planning Principles to establish better LC practices. Young people can use the flowchart to better understand leaving care processes and advocate their caseworker to follow proper processes as needed. The Leaving Care Planning Principles are consistent with the principles of the National Standards for Out-of-Home care. Adopting the principles would highlight and promote the rights of all young people leaving care.
A letter writing campaign was undertaken, with agencies urged to support the initiative by sending a letter to FACS. Other stakeholders were also contacted, calling for their support to endorse the campaign.
Driving Lessons for Care Leavers
The 2010 priority for ACWA’s Leaving Care Working Party was to advocate Government to allocate more resources for young people to access driving lessons.
The initiative highlighted the benefits of assisting young people in care to obtain a driver’s license including:
- Improved access to employment, essential services, training and educational opportunities, and recreational services.
- A road and safety issue that has the potential to reduce road fatalities.
- Potential impact on reducing crime.
A letter writing campaign was initiated targeting Ministers, the Opposition and other relevant agencies to advocate for funding towards driving lessons for vulnerable young people in care. Other stakeholders were also contacted, calling for their support to endorse the campaign.
The campaign highlighted in particular the difficulty that young people experience in accessing a vehicle and engaging a suitable adult to log 120 hours of driving lesson, and advocated for recurrent funding to be provided to implement a model similar to the Salvation Army’s Oasis Drivin’ 4 Employment program across LGAs in NSW.
Transition to Independent Living Allowance
In 2010, ACWA participated in a review by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) of the Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA).
ACWA’s Leaving Care Working Party identified the following five priorities for its agenda:
- Stable and adequately supported accommodation – to advocate for the increase of accessible and appropriate accommodation options for young people leaving care.
- Young people who fall outside of the formal OOHC system – to highlight the issue of young people who are not placed under the Parental Responsibility of the Minister not having access to leaving care and after care services.
- After care and leaving care services in regional and rural services – to highlight the lack of services in rural and regional areas and to advocate for more resourcing for those areas.
- Driving lessons – to advocate for and encourage more programs that provide driving lessons for young people, which would open up a whole range of options for young people such as employment and social mobility.
- Financial support for careleavers - to improve access to and availability of financial support for careleavers.