Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1287 ..
has said, jurisdictions are leapfrogging each other in improving services and support in this space. In April, state and territory community services ministers met with the commonwealth and agreed to direct their officials, through the Children and Family Secretaries Group, to prepare a paper outlining, for each jurisdiction, the number of young people in care turning 18 years old before 31 December 2020 and details of transition supports in place for these young people during the coronavirus pandemic, and identifying any gaps in supports for young people transitioning from care during COVID-19. That report was a really important one. Every jurisdiction looked at the supports in place. We did provide additional support through our COVID-19 response for young people who were transitioning off orders during this period of pandemic, when we knew that life was going to be tougher for all young people, but particularly for young people who do not necessarily have the natural family supports that are available for most young people.
Additionally, the government has already committed to improving our extended care provisions through the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement, as Mrs Kikkert touched on and as is reflected in the motion and the amendment. It is the normal business of the public service to analyse the operation of government services and to provide technical advice on how to implement changes. In this case we already have work underway. The work on the next iteration of the Step Up for Our Kids out of home care strategy was funded—in the August economic statement, if I am not mistaken—so this work that Mrs Kikkert has called for a taskforce on, is already underway. These conversations are already being had—including with Child and Youth Protection Services staff, but also with young people, with carers and with birth families—about what the next stage of the strategy should look at. That is why my amendment removes Mrs Kikkert’s reference to a taskforce; it would simply be duplicating work that the government is already doing in this space.
My amendment strengthens what we are committing to in principle in relation to the extension of care. It explores options to enact a presumption that the continuum of care subsidy would automatically extend to young people, and—again I give credit to Mr Davis—it explores legal options to provide a statutory provision for this presumption as we work on amendments to the Children and Young People Act as part of our review of the act and our development of the next strategy. I appreciate Mrs Kikkert’s intention in that regard. Reference to the task force has not been removed because we do not want to do the work; it has been removed because the work is already happening. There is already a group doing that; it would not make sense to duplicate that work. We also support the call in the original motion for the government to report back to the Assembly on our progress against this commitment by June 2022, and I look forward to the opportunity to update the Assembly at that time.
I think it is important to recognise and acknowledge that young people in out of home care or exiting from orders are legally considered adults when they reach the age of 18—just like all other young people in our community—and this comes with all the legal rights and responsibilities of adulthood. We know, absolutely, that nothing magically changes when a person reaches their 18th birthday—our problems do not disappear, our abilities and resilience do not suddenly improve, and our need for support does not go away. My notes refer to “any parent with adult children”, but I