Anglicare WA has unveiled a model of extended support for young Western Australians leaving out-of-home care that is ready to be expanded to all care leavers in Perth.
The prototype model of extended care has been co-designed over two years through the Home Stretch WA Trial, in collaboration with young care leavers, foster carers, families, sector services, and the State Government.
Anglicare WA was appointed by Minister for Communities Simone McGurk MLA in February 2019 to lead the Trial to co-design a support system for young people as they age out of foster care at the age of 18 and until they turn 21.
Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson said the Trial elevated the voice and experience of young people to guide the design and delivery of future extended support for WA care leavers.
“Young people have clearly told us they want the option to access continued care after they turn 18, with the choice to access that service outside of the Child Protection system.
“Lead by our Youth Advisory Group, we have co-designed a protype model of enhanced one-to-one support, with the flexibility to assist each young person to reach interdependence, and by connecting them into enduring support networks.”
“This model, which provides a financial and social safety net to the care leavers, includes access to housing, health, education and life skills, could be expanded to all care leavers immediately.”
The McGowan Government pledged to expand extended support to all care leavers in Western Australia if re-elected in March. More than 200 care leavers exit the system annually in WA.
37 young people have been supported through the Trial in the Fremantle and Rockingham area since 2019.
Mr Glasson said the protype model, currently on display in a special Gallery Walk at Perth City Farm, is already being adapted to meet specific need.
“With Aboriginal children over-represented in out-of-home care, we have already partnered with Yorganop, WA’s only Aboriginal foster care agency, to co-design an Aboriginal-led, culturally-safe model.
’Nitja Nop Yorga Ngulla Mia’ (In Noongar means Our Boys and Girls are Staying Home’) is the name given to the partnership, which has focused on understanding the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal care leavers.
This was achieved through a range of co-design activities with Aboriginal young people, their families, practice experts and carers as well as the inclusion of six young people in the Home Stretch WA Trial.Recommendations for the expansion of Home Stretch in WA have been produced by the Trial; an evaluation of which will be completed by Curtin University in September.