Page 3705 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 24 August 2011

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Children and Young People (Transition to Independence) Amendment Bill 2011

Ms Hunter, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The ACT Greens are introducing this bill today to extend the legislative responsibility of the director-general to support young people who have been subject to care and protection orders in the ACT from 18 to 25 years of age. The aim of this bill is to also provide clarity about what supports young people and young adults can access while planning and transitioning towards independence.

In October 2010 the ACT Greens released Strengthening our support of young people transitioning out of care: a new framework. The paper raised many issues but concentrated on providing a solution-based focus for the future, an action plan to get better outcomes for young people transitioning from out-of-home care.

The ACT Greens put forward a five-point plan to strengthen supports for young people transitioning out of care in the ACT. This included the provision of material and non-material support until young people reach 25 years of age, the development of comprehensive leaving care plans for every child leaving care in the ACT and free access to personal identification materials such as birth certificates and other personal items and information such as education documents, photographs and case files.

The ACT Greens also strongly believe that the ACT would benefit from a non-government post-care service to provide ongoing and coordinated support to young people and young adults who have left care. We will continue to lobby for this as a priority for the out-of-home care sector.

Through ongoing pressure and awareness raising about this issue, we saw several announcements made by the government during the budget process. This included provision of extra funding to provide financial supports to young people transitioning from care and the creation of four transitioning-from-care workers to provide assistance in a government and non-government setting.

On 8 March 2011 the minister gave in-principle support to extend the age limit for supporting children in formal care arrangements beyond the age of 18. The Greens began drafting this bill in March 2011.

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