Page 3709 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 24 August 2011

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contact a young adult has from the age of 18 to 25 years with the care and protection system, young adults remain eligible to have their transition plan reviewed annually.

The bill also provides for a strengthening of the current charter of rights for children and young people in out of home care. This bill seeks to make provision for the development of a charter of rights for children, young people and young adults in, or previously in, out-of-home care. This part of the bill is intended to have the director-general revise the charter of rights for all children in the director-general’s care to include the rights of young people leaving care up until the age of 25 years. The bill provides that the director-general must promote compliance with the charter of rights by out-of-home carers and that each child and young person in out-of-home care is given a copy of the charter of rights. Again this strategy acts as a means of promoting the need for and right to transitioning to independence planning.

In developing this bill the ACT Greens seek to legislate that all young people and young adults transitioning to independence are entitled to the possession, free of charge, of any personal material held by the Community Services Directorate or any other body or person that has provided care for the child under a placement arrangement. This bill also seeks to provide clarity about how young people and young adults are best supported with mechanisms that ensure that their overall health and wellbeing are preserved while accessing their protected personal information.

Within the bill we have made provision for the director-general to provide appropriate support to young people and young adults when they are accessing this information. The young person or young adult may also elect someone to provide this support to them. It is very important that we understand that many young people and young adults, or in fact anyone who has ever left an out-of-home care system, may at some point want to read and understand more about their past experiences that have been recorded within their case file.

This bill is intended to ensure that when young people or young adults are accessing protected personal information they are made aware of the potential impacts that doing so may have on them. The information these young people or young adults are accessing may contain sensitive or confronting content that can have emotional impacts; therefore it is important to provide adequate supports to ensure that any harm is minimised.

The bill also sets out that the director-general may provide financial assistance to a young person or young adult that has left out-of-home care. The director-general is required to be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the assistance is necessary given the circumstances and will be used for an appropriate purpose. This may include purchasing furnishings, paying for education and training costs or paying other costs associated with transitioning to independence. The bill sets out provision for the director-general to place conditions on the financial assistance and also notes that no interest is to be charged on the financial assistance provided.

In relation to the financial assistance that can be provided within the bill, the minister can make guidelines to enhance clarity about the use of this financial assistance, and the guidelines are required to be a notifiable instrument. This provision is intended to

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