There are a range of services and supports to assist young people, aged 16 to 21 years of age, to transition from care services to independent living.
Better Futures is a new way of supporting care leavers, engaging with young people and their support networks, including case managers and care teams, early in their transition from care. For more information, see Better Futures
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.
Home Stretch is being delivered under the Better Futures model and provides young people leaving care with a more gradual and supported transition to independent living.
Through Home Stretch, 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 transitioning to an independent living option are eligible for an allowance to support them with their housing costs up to 21 years of age.
Home Stretch rolled out across Victoria in late 2019 and in 2020, the Victorian State Budget committed $68.7 million over four years and ongoing funding to make Home Stretch universal.
This investment now means from 1 January 2021, all* young people turning 18 years of age and due to leave care will be able to remain with their foster carer or kinship carer supported by an allowance, case work and flexible funding, or for those leaving residential care, to transition to other housing options (e.g. private rental) supported by an allowance, case work and flexible funding.
From 1 July 2021, all young people from 16 years of age and due to leave care will be eligible for Home Stretch support until their 21st birthday.
*Compass remains the primary leaving care option in COMPASS locations (Greater Bendigo, North East Melbourne area, Hume Moreland area, Brimbank/Melton and Western Melbourne areas) until 31 March 2021.
For more information, see Home Stretch.
Leaving care planning
From 15 years of age young people in care will be participating in the development of their 15 plus Care and Transition plan. It is important that young people leaving care have the necessary support and skills to maximise their opportunities and feel ready and prepared to leave care. See Leaving care planning.
Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA)
TILA is a Commonwealth allowance for young people aged 15 to 25 years who are leaving or who have already left care services. 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.
For more information on leaving care, post care supports and provider contact list, see Leaving care on our Services website.