Kids in care are left behind
Report identifies health and education failures
YOUNG people from out-ofhome care fare worse than their peers when it comes to mental health and education, a newly-released report has found.
The Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) report, released this week, looked at young people from out-of-home care and was a significant contributor to the State Government’s decision in March to back a Home Stretch trial supporting young people in State care to the age of 21. The campaign was backed by the Gazette and Community News.
Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk revealed on Saturday the Home Stretch trial, led by Anglicare WA, would start on September 9, supporting 15 care leavers in the Fremantle area. The Government announced $440,000 in funding for the trial during Homelessness Week earlier this month.
The author of the report Exploring outcomes for young people who have experienced out-of-home care, researcher Dr Melissa O’Donnell and her team spent eight months in 2017 following the progress of 2003 young people born between 1990-95 who had spent time in care, such as foster care, until they turned 23.
They were compared with a group of 9955 who had similar socio-economic characteristics at birth but had not been in State care.
Dr O’Donnell said the most alarming result was that 80 per cent of young people from State care had not completed a high school certificate and just 4 per cent went on to university.
Anglicare WA chief executive Mark Glasson said the current system was not setting up young people to successfully leave care networks: “For many of them, their accommodation options are homelessness services, their health options are the emergency departments. The WA Home Stretch trial will (offer) guarantees around housing, health and ongoing support that every young person needs to transition into independence.”