Significant Hardships For Young People in Care: Report
27 May 2014 at 11:28 am
Children in care experience dramatically higher incidences of mental and chronic health issues, are more likely to be bullied at school, and are more likely to find it difficult to acquire skills necessary for minimum wage jobs than children in the general community, according to a new report.
Anglicare Victoria’s second annual report card on children in care found that children and young people in care experienced almost double the incidence of chronic health problems or disabilities and were more than four times more susceptible to developing behavioural problems than their peers in the general population.
The report by the children, youth and family services Not for Profit found that children and young people in care were more likely to experience bullying (35 percent) than those in the broader population (24 per cent).
Relative to their peers, those in care also had:
- Less contact with their birth fathers (40 per cent compared to 26 percent)
- Fewer friends outside of school (18 per cent compared to 54 per cent).
- Low participation in leisure activities, with only 30 per cent reported as participating in a wide range of leisure activities.
- Lower likelihood of participating in physical activity to recommended levels (43 per cent compared to 60 per cent).
- Reduced ability to understand information on a payslip or Centrelink payment advice letter or organise 100 points of identification,
Speaking at the launch of the report, Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald questioned changes to Newstart and Youth Allowance for young people who have been in state care.
Under the changes, young people aged 22 to 24 will be moved from Newstart to the lower Youth Allowance, and all welfare recipients under 30 will not receive income for the first six months of every year.
McDonald called on Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and Federal Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, to exempt young Australians who have spent their childhood in care from Commonwealth benefit changes.
“It’s socially derelict to expect a group of already disadvantaged young Australians to shoulder increased financial responsibilities. Young Australians leaving a life in care need solid financial and domestic support,” he said.
“Young disadvantaged Australians entering today’s workforce do not have the financial or domestic support their peers enjoy. It is at this crucial point where we should be increasing, not removing, support as they leave care to fend for themselves.
“This is a group who are unable to access reliable family networks meaning they largely go into the World under-prepared and under-resourced. Many end up struggling to find work and routine in the community. Many experience homelessness, early parenthood and long periods of unemployment.
“This policy sends this small but needy group, who are largely unprepared for adult life, further into desperation and disarray.”
Download the report here.