August 20, 2020
The transition to young adulthood is a challenging time for many, but for those in foster and residential care across Central Queensland it brings with it a whole new level of disadvantage.
Despite the daily pressures associated with turning 18, young people in child protection – now adults in the eyes of the law – are often left to fend for themselves, their legal guardian’s rights now effectively ceased.
In a bid to ensure their long-term safety and support, the Home Stretch campaign spearheaded by AnglicareCQ (along with a number of other providers and PEAKS) instead hopes to see the age of child protection care across Queensland increased to 21 years old.
Just this year, state governments in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia made commitments to support extended out-of-home care to 21 years.
This push for change is a necessary one, in that it would safeguard the wellbeing of young adults across the region as they navigate this often-difficult period.
In Central Queensland, we are seeing ever increasing numbers of young people coming into care, with Indigenous young people significantly overrepresented. At AnglicareCQ over 40 percent of the young people we support through our Foster Care and Residential Programs are Indigenous – who form 4 percent of our general population.
AnglicareCQ CEO, Carol Godwin believes the benefits of extending foster care will shift the scenario for those exiting the system from one of surviving to thriving. “There’s improved education and employment opportunities, reduced homelessness, reduced drug and alcohol misuse and reduced involvement with the justice system.”
In a report released by the Home Stretch campaign this month, it reveals a total 68 percent of young adults will become involved with the justice system within 12 months of leaving the child protection system. Furthermore, 29 percent of these young people will also remain unemployed compared to those living in stable homes.
It’s the right thing to do and our young people deserve this commitment from us. To learn more about the Home Stretch campaign and join the movement, visit http://thehomestretch.org.au/
Please sign the pledge! #makeit21