State care past 18

Stuff reports:

Children in state care will have the option of remaining in full state care until they turn 21, and can opt for ongoing Government support until they turn 25. 

It’s a significant announcement that the Government is set to make today, as part of its ongoing overhaul of the way vulnerable children are cared for when they are taken from their parents. 

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the Government could no longer abandon vulnerable children once they “aged out of care”. 

The changes come after the Government announced it was also raising the minimum age of care to 18, which would come into effect in April next year. 

Under the new legislation, young people could either remain in, or return to care up to the age of 21, either with an existing or former caregiver, or an alternative caregiver

This seems a good idea. Those not in state care don’t necessarily leave home on the day of their 18th birthday, and even if they do leave home, benefit from ongoing support from their parents.

It is tough enough for those in state care already, without evicting them the day they turn 18.

Cabinet has also agreed to provide financial assistance to the caregivers, which would take into account the young person’s individual circumstances, and could include a contribution from any income that the young person has.

The caregiver was expected to provide pastoral care for the young person so they could gradually become more independent, and the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children would monitor living arrangements against specific care standards.

Transition advice and support would be available up to the age of 25 for young people who had been in care, focusing on those with higher and more complex needs.

Also sounds good.

Many had suffered significant trauma in their short lives, and some were not ready to live independently.

“So that’s really why we’re saying there’s good evidence to support this, and it makes sense from a social investment point of view because you know the outcomes that these kids face. 

“It is going to cost us, but it’s a good investment to make in these young people,” she said.

“Because if we can help them get on and get some good qualifications and get into employment, they’re going to live a better life and in the long-term it saves the taxpayers’ money.”

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