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NSW extends state care for young people

7 November 2022 at 12:07 pm
Ruby Kraner-Tucci
The announcement, which brings the state in line with the rest of Australia, has been welcomed by the for-purpose sector.

Ruby Kraner-Tucci | 7 November 2022 at 12:07 pm


NSW extends state care for young people
7 November 2022 at 12:07 pm

The announcement, which brings the state in line with the rest of Australia, has been welcomed by the for-purpose sector.

The NSW government is extending state support for young people in out of home care from 18 years to 21 years, in line with all other Australian states and territories.

According to The Home Stretch, a coalition of community organisations that has been campaigning strongly for the policy change, 50 per cent of young people who leave their care setting at 18 years old become homeless, involved with the criminal justice system, unemployed or a new parent within the first year of being exited from care.

Home Stretch national chair Paul McDonald congratulated premier Dominic Perrottet and families and communities minister Natasha Maclaren-Jones on the “life-changing” decision for young people.

“As the responsible parent for the largest number of children and young people in care nationally, extending care is the simplest and most effective reform the NSW government can make to transform the lives of around 1200 young people in foster, kinship and residential care. 

“It’s an exciting moment to be able to look ahead and think about how much difference this simple reform will make to so many young lives in the years to come.”

See more: Time for a historic investment in young people

Home Stretch NSW chair Jason Juretic says the policy change echoes current parenting trends that is seeing most young people supported to remain at home into their twenties as they transition into adulthood. 

“This decision will be transformative to the lives of young people who, through no fault of their own, have had their lives disrupted and are trying to get them back on track. To know that they will be able to work on their life skills, to study, find accommodation, and work, while repairing, is life changing,” said Juretic.

See more: Youth homelessness crisis: 3 things governments need to do right now

Other sector organisations expressed their support for the NSW reform. The Benevolent Society’s CEO Lin Hatfield Dodds said the decision was critical for providing stability to young people during such a volatile period of life.

“The evidence from overseas and interstate is that extending care to 21 has long lasting positive effects for care leaver’s education, career and wellbeing. This reform is also an important recognition of the sacrifices that our foster carers make in welcoming a young person into their home.”

Stepping Stone House, an organisation providing accommodation support to young people and which supported the Home Stretch campaign, said the decision was especially important in our current economic climate which is escalating youth homelessness.

See more: Wellbeing budget could put a dent in youth homelessness

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen one in twenty young people experience homelessness, and a tripling of enquiries into our services from young people,” chair Simon Bird said.

“To know that these young people won’t be forced back into precarious living and now have time to learn critical emotional and practical life skills is a great relief to the sector.

“It’s not only great for these young people, but the state of NSW as we’re going to be much less likely to see these young people wash through the mental health, health, emergency services and juvenile justice systems.”

Ruby Kraner-Tucci  |  @ProBonoNews

Ruby Kraner-Tucci is a journalist, with a special interest in culture, community and social affairs. Reach her at

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