- McGowan Government delivering on $37.2 million election commitment to permanently establish its flagship Home Stretch program in Western Australia
- Program now supports children leaving care until the age of 21 years - up from 18 years
- Investment will give hundreds of young people and their carers extra support and resources as they move toward independence
Young people leaving the child protection system now have access to support up until the age of 21 as the McGowan Government delivers on an important election commitment.
The $37.2 million Home Stretch program offers young people moving toward independence the help they need to reach their full potential.
Assistance could include help with obtaining safe and stable accommodation, enrolling in further education, connecting to voluntary work opportunities, identifying where to access support in the local community, re-engaging with health services and improving financial skills.
Home Stretch WA ensures carers continue to receive financial payments to cover expenses such as food, accommodation and utilities.
Historically, young people have transitioned out of care at 18 years - much younger than people outside the care system typically leave home.
Research shows these young people are at greater risk of unemployment, homelessness, mental health issues and interacting with criminal justice systems.
Elements of the Home Stretch program include a transition coach, a staying on subsidy, housing allowance and the Invest in Me Fund, a financial safety net to support young people achieve their goals.
The Department of Communities has partnered with Yorganop Association Incorporated to deliver Home Stretch to young Aboriginal people preparing to leave care in the metropolitan area.
The expansion of Home Stretch will be supported by a Community of Practice delivered by Anglicare WA. The Community of Practice will support Yorganop and future Home Stretch providers deliver the program.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Not many young people these days are emotionally or financially ready to leave home at 18 - but until now, that has been the stark reality for many children in care.
"By delivering on this $37 million election commitment my government is extending support for young people up until the age of 21, while they transition to independence.
"Many of these young people have overcome major obstacles and they deserve all the support we can give them - whether it's having a place to stay, pursuing further education, connecting with employment or learning financial skills.
"Those extra few years will provide stability and help set these young people up for life, so they can reach their full potential."
Comments attributed to Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk:
"Leaving the nest can be an emotional time in any person's life, but we know it can be particularly daunting for a young person with a lived experience of trauma and disadvantage - leaving them at greater risk of unemployment and homelessness.
"The State Government's $37.2 million dollar investment will assist hundreds of young people to move to independence while providing carers with vital financial support.
"Young people participating in Home Stretch will also have the option of a transition coach, housing allowance and a financial safety net to help them achieve their goals.
"I'm proud to deliver on this important election commitment, which is changing the way young people transition from out-of-home care - and transforming lives in the process."
Comments attributed to Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson:
"Today's announcement will be an enduring legacy of the McGowan Government, with the roll-out State-wide of the Home Stretch WA Model to provide certainty and stability for the young people who leave State care each year on their 18th birthday.
"Anglicare WA is committed to coming up with new ways to solve old problems, and we believe in delivering service innovation in partnership with government, with sector agencies, with Aboriginal community controlled organisations like Yorganop, and the real experts - those with lived experience."