Leaving care

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

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

Home Stretch will be delivered under the Better Futures model and provide approximately 250 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 will be eligible for an allowance to support them with their housing costs up to 21 years of age.  For more information, see Home Stretch.

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.

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.

More information

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