After care is a term used to describe a variety of services and supports that may be available to young people between the ages of 15 and 25 years after they formally leave care. The types of after care assistance may include information and advice about other government or non-government agencies which can help with family searching, family mediation and family reunion services. Referral and financial assistance for finding accommodation, education or vocational training, counselling, employment, legal advice, health services or professional services, and help with viewing their file and accessing personal documentation.
During this time young people can feel vulnerable, lonely, depressed as well as settled and hopeful. Some of the experiences of young people at this time are illustrated on the right.
- Inadequate living skills to live independently
- Don't know who to contact to get help
- Not aware of what services are available or how to access them
- Higher support needs due to past trauma
- Cannot remember what is in their Leaving Care Plan
- Unsure of what is remaining in their financial entitlements
- Unless the young person is considered high risk usually no caseworker is allocated post care
- Problematic to change content of plan once closed
- Re-approval is required to spend entitlements listed in the Leaving Care Plan
- Difficult to get financial approval for things that aren't in the approved plan
Things that will help
- Continued access to living skills development support tools e.g. videos
- Access to information about available referral services for housing support, education & training, welfare, mental health, counselling supports etc
- Ability to view and download their Life Story work and important documents such as birth certificates
- Digital access to their leaving care plan
- Ability to view a running balance of their leaving care entitlements funds
- Easy to share referral service information with young people
- Reassuring to know young people can access their leaving care plan (Life Plan) and information and referral services through YOU
- More efficient approval process for financial help
Supporting ChildStory tools
The following tools can be used by young people and workers to support young people after they leave care.