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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1562 asked in the Legislative Council on 5 December 2019 by Hon Nick Goiran

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES — YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVING CARE

1562. Hon NICK GOIRAN to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Child Protection:

I refer to the WA Auditor General's ''Young People Leaving Care'' report of August 2018, in which it was noted —

The Department did not ensure that young people knew they were entitled to further support after they left its care.

(1) Has any work been undertaken to correct this?

(2) If yes to (1), what measures are now in place?

(3) How many young people left care in the 2018–19 reporting period?

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. I note that it is a long answer because the member asked what work has been undertaken, and a lot has been undertaken.

(1)–(2) Following the conclusion of the audit, the Department of Communities established a steering committee for young people leaving care and a working group to design and pilot a revised leaving care approach and to manage the implementation of the Office of the Auditor General's recommendations. The steering committee developed a model of service to address the needs of young people preparing to leave care. A pilot of the new service model will officially commence early in 2020 and will be trialled over a 12-month period and evaluated against the recommendations of the Auditor General's report. Pilot sites will recruit and establish leaving care teams. The dedicated leaving care team model will focus on early engagement, planning and ongoing support for young people transitioning from care. The model will provide a place-based response and enable a level of consistency so that, regardless of where a young person presents for services, they can expect to receive a similar response.

The Department of Communities has a number of measures in place to ensure that young people transitioning to independence are provided with information and support. Young people in care are provided with information about time in care, leaving care services and financial entitlements. The Home Stretch trial currently underway is testing a model of enhanced access to supports and services for young people transitioning from out-of-home care, providing them with additional support and resources from 18 years of age to when they turn 21 years of age. The trial will improve care leavers' access to housing, health, education, training and employment through the provision of one-on-one assistance.

Create Foundations Sortli—which stands for ''sort out your life''—is a mobile app that provides information to support the transition of young people in care to independence and adulthood. The Create Go Your Own Way kit is distributed annually across Department of Communities districts to each young person turning 16 years of age, and includes a planning resource for young people transitioning to independent living.

(3) In 2018–19, 731 children and young people left care. Of those children, 195 aged out of care by turning 18; 397 were reunified with family; and the remaining children left care to be adopted, transferred to a special guardianship order, or for other reasons such as moving interstate or self-selecting to live with relatives.