Leaving Care has a range of services and supports to assist young people aged 16 to 21 years of age to transition from care to adulthood.
Leaving care services include:
- Better futures (previously known as Leaving Care Support Services, post care support, information and referral, Springboard, Aboriginal leaving care support services, and mentoring)
- Home Stretch
- Transition planning
- Leaving care hotline
Better Futures provides flexible and tailored support as you transition from out of home care to independence.
To be eligible for Better Futures support, you must be in kinship care, foster care or residential care on or after your 16th birthday and on one of the following orders Care by Secretary Order, Long-Term Care Order, Family Reunification Order.
A Better Futures worker meets with you and your case managers when you are about to turn 16 years and is available to help you transition from care services, when your Child Protection Order finishes, up until 21 years of age.
Better Futures includes:
- Case work support
- Information and advice
- Money (Flexible funding)
Better Futures provides support across a range of life areas including:
- Health and wellbeing
- Housing and living skills
- Education (including TAFE and University)
- Community and cultural connections (including mentoring)
To find out more, see Better Futures.
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 if your carer agrees. 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.
To find out more, see Home Stretch.
Permanent care orders
All young people on permanent care orders are eligible for:
- Better Futures from 15 years and nine months of age until you turn 21, and
- Home Stretch from 18 years of age until you turn 21.
To find out if you are eligible for Better Futures and Home Stretch, contact:
- Permanent Care and Adoptive Families by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 9020 1833
- Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency by emailing email@example.com.
Providers can find more information on the Leaving care page of the DFFH providers website.
COMPASS is a leaving care program for young people (aged 16.5 to 18.5 years upon entry) who are living in or have recently left out of home care.
COMPASS support includes: Case worker, Education, Employment, Health and wellbeing, Community and cultural connections, A range of housing options
COMPASS operates in:
- North East Melbourne
- Greater Bendigo
- Western Melbourne
Leaving care planning
From 15.9 years of age, you will be participating in the development of your 15 plus Care and Transition plan. This plan will include supports you will need to help you transition successfully from out-of-home care into independence.
For more information, see Transition Planning for leaving care on our Providers website.
Leaving care hotline
If you are leaving care services in Victoria you can call the Leaving Care Hotline to speak to someone for advice or referral to support services.
The Leaving Care Hotline can give you information about:
- finding accommodation or staying in existing accommodation
- staying in education or returning to studying
- looking for a job, or applying for on the job (vocational) training
- keeping a current job
- re-connecting with family
- financial help to maintain independence if you have already left state care
- linking with other support services.
Melbourne City Mission's Frontyard Service manages our Leaving Care Hotline. You can use it to connect with your nearest Better Futures service. For more information, see under 'Contacts'.
Other leaving care programs
There are a range of programs and supports available to you when leaving care.