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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2015) . . Page.. 1387 ..

leadership and programs for young mothers; assertive outreach to support difficult to engage young people; and equipment and material for after-hours activities such as breakfast clubs and band nights. It is through this work that we support young people to connect with services and develop a strengthened support network to achieve within their community.

The government also supports young people in the out of home care system through a step up for our kids, a $16 million investment by the ACT government over the next five years. The aim of a step up for our kids is simple—to provide vulnerable children and young people with loving, safe homes and the support to lead productive lives. For some children and young people a safe and loving home is not possible. We want the best outcomes to be reached for all children and young people.

A step up for our kids, the ACT’s new five-year strategy for out of home care services, is about investing in the future of our most vulnerable children and young people. It is about keeping kids at home where possible and preventing disadvantage for future generations.

As is the case nationally, the ACT community is facing many challenges when it comes to providing out of home care services. Outcomes for young people who have been in care are generally less favourable compared to the broader community, whether it is socially, in education or in employment.

Here in the ACT we are stepping up for vulnerable children, young people and their families, and a step up for our kids will transform our support for them. A step up for our kids creates an environment that goes further than before in delivering the right kind of support to young people at the right time in their lives. We want to make sure that young people are given every chance to stay with their families, and, where that is not possible, that they have all the support they need to build new lives.

This system truly places the young person’s voice at its centre. It is based on trauma-informed support that better takes into account the trauma endured by a child or young person who has experienced abuse and neglect. The professional support for young people coming into care through a new approach to therapeutic assessments will address this trauma and recast services around the needs of the child or young person.

We are going to create more stable lives for young people in care by enabling organisations to provide a system of care and support that stays with the child as they grow, rather than making them move from one service provider to another.

We will continue to step up for young people as they approach 18. We understand that young people can be particularly vulnerable as they make the transition to adulthood. That is why the carer subsidy will continue until age 21 where appropriate, to support this crucial period in a young person’s life.

We want to improve the education, health and participation outcomes for young people in out of home care. We are creating a more sustainable system, providing our young people with the foundations for a happy, productive adulthood. Most importantly, we are helping young people to take a step up in their lives.

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