Better Futures

A new way of supporting care leavers early in their transition from care.

Better Futures aims is to engage earlier with care leavers, supporting them to have an active voice in their transition planning, and providing individualised supports both in-care and post-care across a range of life areas including housing, health and wellbeing, education, employment, and community and cultural connections.

Better Futures, was previously known as Leaving Care Support Services, post care support, information and referral, Springboard, Aboriginal leaving care support services, and mentoring.  Care Services was previously known as out of home care.

Better Futures includes:

  • Direct case work support
  • Information and advice
  • Access to flexible funding.

Home Stretch support for young people in care turning 18 years in 2020

In April 2020 support for young people turning 18 years and due to leave care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic became available. 

Young people in care turning 18 years between 16 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 may be eligible for additional support until 30 June 2021 via the coronavirus (COVID-19) Home Stretch initiative. 

For more information, see Carers and children in care – coronavirus (COVID-19) page on the Department of Health and Human Services website and refer to the Home Stretch support for young people in care turning 18 years in 2020 fact sheet.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Better Futures, a young person must be 15 and 9 months, be in out-of-home care on a Care by Secretary Order, a Long-Term Care Order or a Family Reunification Order.

Young people aged 18 years and 21 are eligible for post-care support through Better Futures.

Referral

All eligible young people in care aged between 16 years and 18 years are referred to their local Better Futures provider.

Young people aged 18 years and 21 can contact the Leaving Care hotline for their local leaving care provider or see Leaving care on our Services website.

Available supports

In care

The Better Futures worker engages proactively with the young person as they are about to turn 16 years and assists them as they transition to independence up until the age of 21 years. 

Better Futures worker provide a secondary consultation to the care team – lending expertise to the transition planning process; identifying goals and actions for inclusion in the 15+ Care and Transition Plan.

Better Futures worker does not assume lead responsibility for case work support while the young person is subject to a statutory order – support gradually increases as young person prepared to transition – 6 months prior.

In limited circumstances the Better Futures worker will provide direct support to young person in care

Flexible funding

Better Futures worker will have access to flexible funding to support achievement of goals that directly relate to transition.

Post Care

Better Futures worker provides case work support to young person up to 21 years of age who have been in care services.

Flexible levels of support

Depending on the young person’s circumstances level of support be may receive high, medium, or low levels of support, or be placed on active hold (quick check in).  Capacity of the Better Future provider also determines the level of support.

Flexible funding (brokerage)

Through the Better Futures worker, the young person will have access to flexible funding to support their goals for independence.

These funds do not replace other discretionary funding, such as the Commonwealth Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA).

Melbourne City Mission administers the TILA program in Victoria. The Better Futures Worker can help apply for TILA. 

Practice advice

To facilitate the implementation and operations of Better Futures practice advice have been developed:

More information

For more information, see:

  • Better Futures (Advantaged Thinking) Practice Framework

    Better Futures is supported by the Advantaged Thinking theoretical approach.

    Advantaged Thinking is based on the work of Colin Falconer from the Foyer Federation in the United Kingdom and is used in a variety of settings across Australia, including Victoria's Education First Youth Foyers. 

    We are working alongside the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) to develop a Better Futures (Advantaged Thinking) Practice Framework, which will guide workers to work in an 'Advantaged Thinking way', engaging with young people using a strengths-based approach, recognising and building their talents and aspirations, as well as assisting them to overcome challenges. 

    See the video of Colin Falconer's presentation Open Talent at TEDx.

    Better Futures (Advantaged Thinking) Practice Framework.

Contacts
Melbourne City Mission Leaving Care Hotline
1300 532 846
leavingcare@mcm.org.au

9 am to 8 pm weekdays and 10 am to 6 pm on weekends and public holidays.