Description of the policy:
Young people leaving state out-of-home care are one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society. They often face difficulties in accessing education, employment, housing and other developmental opportunities, and they often make significant demands on Australia’s income security, housing, health and welfare, criminal justice and crisis intervention systems (Mendes, Johnson & Moslehuddin, 2011). There is evidence that those who continue to leave state care without appropriate plans for leaving care support are the ones who become subjected to homelessness because they have not prepared other living arrangements. In the eyes of the state government, young people who are at the age of eighteen must instantaneously transition to independence and become adults, however, this is not the case for most young people. Young people who are removed from long-term foster care placements are often placed in unsuitable accommodation, some young people are denied of government support whilst completing their schooling education, and most young people are denied financial support to undertake driving lesson which will make it increasingly difficult for them to transport to their educational institutes or work commitments (Mendes et al, 2011).
Out - of - home care (OOHC) is the provision of alternative accommodation for children and young people who are unable to live with their parent, and in the case of some children and young people, they are also on a care and protection order . According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013), it defines out-of-home care as an 'alternative accommodation for children under 18 years of age who are unable to live with their parents, where the State or Territory makes a financial payment or where a financial payment has been offered but declined'. This means that the state is obligated to take care of these children and young people who are unable to continue to live with their parents due to serious circumstances.
There are a number of different living arrangements for those who are living in out - of - home care. These consist of foster care; where placement is provided in the home of a carer who is receiving a payment from a state or territory for caring for a child, relative of kinship care; where the child is put into a home with a family member, or a person who has a pre-existing relationship with the child, family group homes; where the child is placed in a residential building which is owned by the jurisdiction, it has a limited number of children and they are cared for by resident carers and lastly, independent living which includes private boarding arrangements .
A main practice framework that has been introduced is the Looking After Children. Looking After Children was developed in the United Kingdom and has now been implemented in Australia and internationally. It is now known to be the best practice framework for children who have been placed away from their families as a result of a Child Protection intervention. It has now been adopted for children and young people living in out of home care arrangements. Looking After Children implements the idea that planning is needed to support the needs of children and young people to ensure that they receive the greatest possible outcome for them and their families. The best interests of the child or young person guided by planning, and it considers the need to protect the child from harm, to protect the child's rights and to promote the child's development and wellbeing (Department Of Human Services, 2012b).
The two important aspects of planning are a representation of best practice for children and young people in out-of-home care are case planning and care planning. Case planning emphasises on looking are the broader picture and overall circumstances of the child or young person’s need. It may include supporting parents to resume care or transition