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Leaving care, future planning and after care
This page contains leaving and after care information for caseworkers and carers to encourage and support young people to plan their future. This page also contains information for young people (15 – 25 years), so they feel supported in making the first steps into adulthood.
Why is a Leaving Care Plan important?
Research shows that helping young people to feel connected, secure and supported is vital to ensuring an easy transition to adulthood. For young people in out of home care, planning for the future (or leaving care) can be daunting, but with the right support, early planning and services tailored to their needs, young people will be able to grow with confidence and feel prepared to face adulthood. Remember, planning for a young person’s future is not about actually leaving anywhere. It’s about identifying what’s needed to achieve goals and what are the actions or stepping stones needed to achieve their goals and dreams. This might be a tutor to help them with the HSC or braces well before those formal photos or support to learn to drive!
Caseworkers, carers and young people need to talk together. This helps create awareness and agreement on who is doing what during the planning process. The Leaving Care Plan simply records this information and becomes a ‘living’ resource and reference guide for that young person’s journey as they prepare to (legally) leave care. This means, for a leaving care plan to be purposeful and relevant for each young person, they need to talk to the caseworker and other important people in their lives to help them identify needs and goals and then make the plan ‘real’.
Caseworkers and carers should think about how to prepare a young person, as best as possible, for the realities of independence and adulthood. Learning essential life skills, building supportive social networks and ensuring education and health needs are addressed are the types of things that will help build a sufficient level of emotional maturity and readiness for the adult world.
The key is to start planning early and talk regularly with the young person about their hopes, goals and dreams and remember that their needs change. It’s critical for young people to build connections and positive relationships that can grow with them and wrap around them as they face the challenges of being a teenager and young adult. .