Home Stretch is a group of concerned organisations and individuals that believe an option should be available for youth in the Out of Home Care system to remain in care until the age of 21.

What was I doing when I was 18?

“I sit and wonder what I was doing at the age of 18. Was I thinking about my eighteenth birthday party? Was I planning my future? Or, was I at home with my parents and waiting to make decisions in a family setting? Some of these decisions could have been: Would I gain employment? Take on future studies? Or, spend time travelling? I did not have to think about where I was going to live. I was able to decide when I wanted to leave home and seek support with this quite easily.”

Caring with Carers supports the Home Stretch

Along with many of the government and non-government agencies, Caring with Carers is in support of increasing the age of statutory Out of Home Care to 21 years. We believe that young people in state care should have the option to extended care if required. This will allow them to be supported with further education and gaining and maintaining employment. Whilst making these big decisions, they can be in a familiar family environment, rather than feeling scared, lonely and unsure of how to seek further supports.

If we can get the NSW Government to agree on this, it means young people would have the option to stay with their foster carer or kinship carer. It would allow those who are not ready to leave care to remain with supports and familiar services they can access. Increasing Out of Home Care to 21 years would require our government to provide further funding to agencies. This funding would be to support the carers with reimbursements and case management services.

Many of these young people are having to think of their future care options at the age of 15 and 9 months. Rather than enjoying their teen years, turning 18 is becoming a scary time for them.

Caring with Carers will continue to support the “Home Stretch” and look forward to seeing a positive outcome for those who wish to stay supported.

How to join the cause

If you wish to support Home Stretch, you can Join the Campaign at:

http://thehomestretch.org.au/supporters/

You can also send a letter to the NSW Premier and Opposition Leader to convince them to make the commitment to extend foster care to the age of 21 before the March state election.

http://thehomestretch.org.au/nsw-campaign/