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.