Leaving care

Leaving Care has a range of services and supports to assist young people, aged 16 to 21 years of age, to transition from out-of-home care to independent living and adulthood.

Leaving care support information and resources are for providers who deliver programs to young people leaving care including: post care, information and referral, mentoring, brokerage, Aboriginal leaving care, and Springboard.

For more information on leaving care and post care supports, see Leaving care on our Services website.

Leaving care planning for young people eligible for NDIS

The leaving care planning for young people eligible for NDIS is a guide designed to support case managers in the development of Looking After Children 15+ Care and Transition Plans for young people in out-of-home care who are eligible for supports under the NDIS.

Transition planning for leaving care

Each young person who leaves an out-of-home care placement should do so in a planned and supported manner,  to enable a successful and sustainable transition. Young people should have:

  • Ongoing opportunities over time to develop independent living skills
  • Involvement in decision-making
  • A detailed 15 plus Care and Transition Plan
  • Essential documentation, possessions and life records.

Members of the young person's care team share responsibility for the preparation of the young person for independent living.

When a young person in out-of-home care reaches 15 years of age, the Looking After Children 15 plus Assessment and Progress Record and the 15 plus Care and Transition Plan must be completed as ‘living documents’, designed to reflect the young person’s aspirations and needs.

More information on transition is available in the Child Protection Manual including:

For more information, see Care and transition planning for leaving care: Victorian Practice Framework (Word).

Better Futures

Better Futures provides assertive, outcomes-focused, flexible and tailored support to young people as they transition from out-of-home care to independence. The Better Futures worker engages proactively with the young person as they are about to turn 16 years, and assists them as they transition from out-of-home care into adulthood up until the age of 21 years.

Better Futures is operating in Barwon Local Area, Goulburn Local Area and South Division.

For more information, see the Better Futures (Post Care Service) factsheet (word).

Home Stretch

Home Stretch will provide approximately 250 young people leaving care with a more gradual and supported transition to independent living. 

Through the Home Stretch program, young people and their kinship and foster carers will have the option of the young person remaining with their carer up to the age of 21 years, supported by an allowance.

Young people leaving residential care will be eligible for an allowance to support them with their housing costs up to 21 years of age. 

As well as an allowance for accommodation, case work support and flexible funding will also be provided to facilitate the young person’s access to education, employment and health and wellbeing supports, and help them to reach their goals for independence.

For more information about Home Stretch:

Post care support, referral and information services

Post care support, referral and information services support young people 16 to 21 years old who require assistance in their transition to independence once their family reunification order, a care by Secretary order or a long-term care order expires for the final time.

For more information, see the Leaving care service providers page on our Services website.

Mentoring services

Leaving care mentoring (LCM) provides young people, 15 to 21 years old, with opportunities to interact with supportive adults to assist them to engage in community activities.

For more information, see the Leaving care service providers page on our Services website.

Leaving care brokerage

Leaving care brokerage provides flexible support funding for young people 16 to 18 years old transitioning from state care, and young people 18 to 21 years old who need support after leaving state care.

For more information, see Leaving care brokerage funds guidelines (Word).

Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA)

TILA is for young people aged 15 to 25 years who are leaving or who have already left out-of-home care. TILA is a payment of up to $1500 to cover basic costs such as education, counselling, medical costs, fridge, driver's licence or any other agreed items.

Melbourne City Mission administers the TILA program in Victoria.

For more information about TILA eligibility, see the Department of Social Services website.

Aboriginal Leaving Care

Leaving care support for Aboriginal young people aims to provide culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal young people transitioning from out-of-home care, including kinship care from 16 to 21 years of age.

For more information, see Aboriginal leaving care providers on our Services website.

Springboard

Springboard provides intensive, youth-focused one to one assistance to young people aged 16 to 21 years old who are in, or have recently left residential out-of-home care and are disengaged from education, vocational training or employment.

For more information on Springboard providers, see the Leaving care service providers page on our Services website.

More information