About one hundred young people each year ‘graduate’ from state care to independence, most at age 18. Their move to independence is about three to five years earlier than their age peers. From research interstate, it is likely that more than half of them will not have completed their schooling to Year 12. About one in three of the young women will have children of their own or be pregnant by the time they turn 20, compared with two per cent in the general population.
As you would expect, the group of young people leaving care are not homogenous. Some are doing really well, some are struggling. Almost one in four is an Aboriginal young person and a growing number, though still relatively small, are refugees from Southern and Central Africa and the Middle East. Just under half are young women.
To read more on homlessness and the wellbeing of young people after graduating from care, download a PDF of the Guardian’s paper Preventing homelessness in young people after care .