Ex­tended sup­port trial

Joondalup Times - - SPECIAL REPORT: YOUTH HOMELESSNESS -

THE State Gov­ern­ment is set to trial Home Stretch in sev­eral ar­eas for at least six months.

Child Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Si­mone McGurk told Com­mu­nity News last week ser­vice teams would be placed in dis­tricts to sup­port chil­dren in care to the age of 21.

“I’m com­mit­ting to work­ing with Angli­care WA as the lead agency to trial how Home Stretch could work in WA and then fol­low the re­sults of that trial,” she said.

“The (Chil­dren and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices) Act gives us the ca­pac­ity to do that trial.”

Tas­ma­nia, SA and Vic­to­ria State gov­ern­ments have com­mit­ted to in­ves­ti­gat­ing a change in leg­is­la­tion to pro­vide for­mal care un­til the age of 21.

In Au­gust, the Au­di­tor Gen­eral re­leased a re­port into the De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties’ suc­cess in help­ing young peo­ple move out of care to in­de­pen­dent liv­ing.

The re­port showed sup­port to young peo­ple leav­ing care made a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence but there was not enough of it.

“When a young per­son in the care of the State turns 18, we can­not turn our back on them – to date we haven’t done enough and we can do bet­ter,” Ms McGurk said.

The Fre­man­tle MLA is urg­ing West Aus­tralians to con­sider be­com­ing respite, emer­gency or full-time fos­ter car­ers. There are more than 3000 reg­is­tered fos­ter car­ers and 5000 chil­dren in State care.

“The feed­back I get from fos­ter car­ers is they get back more than they put in,” Ms McGurk said.

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