With Aboriginal children over-represented in Western Australia’s out-of-home care system, a landmark partnership between Yorganop and Anglicare WA is aiming to improve outcomes for Aboriginal young people aging out of foster care.
WA’s only Aboriginal foster care agency, Yorganop, has joined Anglicare WA in a community co-design project as part of the Home Stretch WA trial. It’s the first time the Aboriginal community controlled organisation has partnered with another service in its 29-year history.
The Home Stretch WA trial is being led by Anglicare WA, in collaboration with the Department of Communities, to develop enhanced support for young people aged 18-21 transitioning out-of-care.
Yorganop and Anglicare WA will work together in genuine partnership with Aboriginal young people and their communities to learn from them how the Home Stretch model can best work for Aboriginal young people leaving the care system.
Yorganop CEO Dawn Wallam said it’s vital the voice and perspectives of Aboriginal young people and their families are heard throughout this co-design process.
“While we don’t want our young people remaining in the system, we recognise between 18-21 years old is an exceptionally vulnerable age,” said Ms Wallam.
“It’s essential that they have the support and connections they need to successfully transition to independence, when they’ve been living in the care system.”
“We are looking forward to working with Anglicare WA and our young people to design a culturally safe program to support them through challenges they may face as they transition out of foster care.”
More than 55 percent of WA children in State care are Aboriginal, despite only being three percent of the state’s total population.
Anglicare WA Home Stretch Lead, Andy Kazim said Aboriginal children and young people have the right to expect to grow up safe and connected to family, community, and culture.
“During the initial co-design process for the Home Stretch WA trial, we prioritised the voices of young people in the development of the model,” said Mr Kazim.
“That process identified that more in-depth co-design work that was Aboriginal-led was needed for the trial to genuinely reflect the voices of Aboriginal young people, who are over-represented in the care system.
The community co-design project, jointly led by Yorganop and Anglicare WA, is funded by Lotterywest, with advice and guidance from the Noongar Family Safety Wellbeing Council.
Lotterywest has also funded the expansion of the Home Stretch WA trial from 15 to 25 young people, with some of the additional participants being young people and families connected to Yorganop.