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December 9, 2020

Government announcement of extension to funding for young people in Out of Home Care

Quantum Support Services welcomes the announcement by the Victorian Premier  Daniel Andrews of the extension of funding to support young people in Out of Home Care, increasing the expiry of support from the age of 18 years to the age of 21 years.

The Homestretch initiative has seen the government provide an option, whereby the provision of care can be extended to any young person needing or seeking this, until 21 years. This initiative is being rolled out with the initial investment allowing for 250 young people to  be  provided  the  option to extend care to the age of 21.

Accommodation allowances are given to these young people who are not in home based arrangements; and continued carer allowances for those young people who can remain with their carers.

Quantum continue to lead the way as the sole delivery provider of leaving care services in Gippsland.  Quantum commenced delivery of the Homestretch program in 2019 and operated as a test site for the new leaving care model known as Better Futures. Quantum were proud to represent Gippsland alongside statewide community service partners, peak body, carers and young people in informing the model design of the Homestretch program, as well as advocating for the program to be available for all young people in statutory care.  The Homestretch program was subsequently rolled out across the State in 2019/2020.

The Better Futures program prioritises the use of its brokerage on investing in young people’s strengths, talents, long term goals and aspirations as opposed to crisis based expenditure.  Outcomes of the program have included support of a client to pursue a successful career in their passion area of horses, farming and the outback.  This support resulted in the young person moving to the Northern Territory in a fulltime and ongoing position as a jackeroo on a cattle station. This example is one of many that document successful transition of young people from out of home care to successful, healthy and independent lifestyles, and the achievement of individual goals.  These outcomes are the goal of Quantum’s Leaving Care Programs.

Cindy Pullar, Executive Director of Quantum Support Services states “Quantum would urge the Andrews Government to consider extending Homestretch or a similar program to assist young people experiencing homelessness across Victoria.  Some of these young people have effectively fallen through the gaps of the statutory system. These young people, often aged 15 years are the ones that turn up to the Homelessness entry points alone, with no previous support service experience and no family support. Dedicated youth social housing with wrap-around support to re-connect with education, training and employment, would be the first step in empowering all young people aged 15 years to 21 years who are without a supportive family and service network to achieve successful independent living.”

Following the government announcement of the extension to Homestretch funding, Quantum intend to focus on enhancing the experience for young people up to the age of 21 when transitioning from out of home care.

Quantum’s Stream Manager of Children and Youth, Mitch Burney states that “Quantum will work towards further development of new and existing partnerships with real estate agents and housing providers to support establishment of independent living for young people leaving out of home care. The independent accommodation allowance component of Homestretch means that rent can be directly paid for and/or subsidised up to the amount of $15,000 per year for those in the program. The funds are now available, we just need the properties.”

For further information about Homestretch or any other of our services call 1800 243 455