Every young person leaving care deserves to have the best start to their adult life. Home Stretch provides you with support to transition to independence and a place to call home until 21 years of age
Home Stretch, part of the Better Futures program, provides young people in care with a more gradual and supported transition to adulthood. This means you can get the support you need up to the age of 21 with assistance from a Better Futures worker.
Through Home Stretch you can stay with your kinship, foster or permanent carer until you turn 21 years of age – your carer would need to agree. Your carer can get an allowance to help support you.
If you are moving from care to independent living, you can get an allowance to help you with housing costs like rent and bills. This payment will go to an agency who will work with you to support your living arrangements.
Through Home Stretch you will be eligible for a Better Futures case worker support, information and advice and flexible funding.
As of 1 July 2021, all young people on a family reunification order, a care by secretary order or a long-term care order in care services can access the Home Stretch program from 16 years of age. They will be able to remain with their foster carer or kinship carer or transition to other housing options (for example, private rental), supported through an allowance, case work and flexible funding.
For young people on the relevant orders leaving residential care, Home Stretch will help them transition to other housing options, supported through an allowance, case work and flexible funding.
Young people subject to a permanent care order are eligible for the Home Stretch program from 18 years of age, with a choice to remain with their carers or transition to other housing options, supported through an allowance, case work and flexible funding.
Applications for Home Stretch can be lodged with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing by your case worker and a Better Futures worker when you are approximately six months away from leaving care. A prospective application should be discussed as part of care team planning from 15 years of age with you and your carer. You and your carer must consent to the application.
In January 2021, Victoria was the first state in Australia to extend Home Stretch to all young people leaving foster, kinship and residential care up to the age of 21, with the government investing $75 million over four years plus ongoing funding in the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget to expand Better Futures and Home Stretch.
From July 2021, the program has expanded even further to include young people subject to permanent care orders following an investment of $38.9 million over four years and $13.8 million ongoing funding in the 2021-22 Victorian State Budget.
Home Stretch is delivered by Better Futures.
See Better Futures for more information.
See Better Futures on the Services website
See Home Stretch on the Providers website