The public poll in which we posed this question opened on 22 May and closed on 30 May 2016. Thanks to the 239 people who responded to the poll and the 19 who left comments.
This is how you voted
Here is a summary of the comments:
All 19 of the commentators agreed in some way to the extension of the leaving age:
- most 18 year olds are not mature enough to go-it-alone and many receive ongoing support from parents even beyond 25
- many young people exiting care at 18 do not have stable and secure support groups at that time and need help and time to develop them
- the trauma and disruption to their lives that many children in care have experienced means that their educational progress and personal maturity may be delayed compared to those in the general population
- 18 to 25 is a critical time in education and support is critical and disruption is damaging during this time
- 18 to 25 is a key time to intervene to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and abuse among young people in care
- many young people become homeless after leaving care at 18 and support beyond this age would help
- it is inconsistent that Centrelink has factored an expectation of continuing parental support to age 25 in its benefit structure while state government support cuts out at 18
- money invested in supporting young people beyond 18 would be more than repaid in the saving from decreased contact with the welfare, health and justice systems later in life
- young people with a disability should receive particular consideration
Many noted practical factors that should be considered:
- young people are adults at 18 and so ongoing care would need to be voluntary and negotiated
- current post-placement services are insufficient to do the work that would be required and many more suitably trained people would be needed
- continuing financial support for foster carers would encourage and support an ongoing relationship at a critical time
- the relationship with a foster family will need to evolve and develop as it does with other families as the child grows older
- a young person at 18 should be allowed to discuss exiting care in an interview with an independent body prior to making a decision
- perhaps there should be an extension to 21 years and then beyond that if the the young person is still in study
All of the comments are below in full and comments are still open if you would like to take the conversation further.
You may also be interested in the results of our last survey asking where extra funding should go to reform child protection in our state.