MEDIA RELEASE: Foster Kids Deserve Support

FOSTER KIDS DESERVE SUPPORT

“Leaving Care Plans are vital”

 Addressing the needs of vulnerable people in society is a priority for the Greens.  This week the NSW Upper House unanimously supported a motion by Greens MLC Jan Barham to address the difficulties faced by young foster children leaving care.

“I am pleased that the Government and all parties have unanimously acknowledged the commitment to prioritise the needs of young people leaving foster care.

When there is an increase above the current figure of 18 per cent of these vulnerable young people receiving a leaving care plan we will see a better outcome for them and society as a whole.  That is the performance test, to ensure that all young children leaving care receive the support they deserve” said Jan Barham MLC.

The motion to the Parliament identified the shortcomings in providing support for young people leaving care.  Despite a legislated requirement under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 which states that a plan must be prepared for a young person before they leave care, questions in parliament revealed that only 18% of eligible young people currently receive a plan.

 “The motion has identified the importance of this issue in addressing the vulnerability of young people when they leave care.  The speakers from all parties have stated their concern and support in relation to this matter and i look forward to the Government focussing on this issue to improve the outcomes for these children.  

 We have a responsibility to support these young people and the overwhelming response was that it is an investment not just in these young people but in society” said Jan Barham MLC

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

MEDIA RELEASE: FOSTER KIDS DESERVE SUPPORT

Leaving Care Plan Campaign

On Sunday the 5th of February 2012, Ella Buckland went to the Marrickville Markets on Addison Road to chat to people about the Leaving Care Plan campaign. She met lots of great people who were shocked that young people leaving foster care were not receiving the support they are entitled to. People told her their own stories of foster care and those of the people they knew and in a few hours had a hundred signatures for the petition. It was great to get the message out there and listen to how people feel about the issue. A big hello and thanks to Keira, an amazing 11 year old who Ella met at the markets,  she helped  get lots of signatures and learnt a lot about leaving care plans by the end of the day.

Campaign- ‘Leaving Care Plans: Give Foster Kids a Chance’

There are approximately 18,000 young people in foster care in NSW, and about 1100 of these leave care annually. A Leaving Care Plan is something which should be started by a caseworker when a  young person reaches the age of about 15.

The plan prepares the young person for being an adult. It alerts them to adult ideas such as budgeting, education pathways, health supports, learning to drive, setting up a house, and how to cook basic food. Many of these young people leave care between 16 and 18 without any family support and have to manage things on their own. A Leaving Care Plan may help them prepare for this step into adulthood.

A study by the CREATE Foundation shows that:

  •  only 18% of young people leaving care get a Leaving Care Plan (LCP),
  • 35% of young people are homeless in the first year they leave care

These young people are not getting vital support and information which can direct them to better social outcomes.

The legislation says the Minister is supposed to ensure that all young people are getting their LCP- however this is not happening.

Jan Barham has spoken in Parliament on this issue and currently has  a Motion on the Notice Paper in Parliament about the importance of supporting these young people. Jan also has a campaign to raise awareness about this vulnerable group of people in our society.

Leaving Care Plan brief for more information,

Go to:Leaving Care Plan petition to download the petition.Get it filled in and send it back to us at:

Jan Barham MLC  
The Greens
Legislative Council, Parliament House
Macquarie Street, SYDNEY 2OOO
Ph: 02 9230 2204   Fax: 02 9230 2766

 

Historic step towards Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

On January 19th, an expert panel handed the Prime Minister a unanimous report recommending five important changes to the Australian Constitution to appropriately recognise our indigenous people. Jan warmly welcomes these proposed changes and thanks everyone who took part in the public consultation process, in particular the panel members including the Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Rachel Siewert. Jan looks forward to all levels of government working together to take this important issue to a referendum.

A copy of the full Report can be found at: http://www.youmeunity.org.au/final-report

A summary and analysis of the report from Jan’s office can be found here:  Briefing Paper – Constitutional Recognition Report