Leaving care

Leaving Care has a range of services and supports to assist young people aged 16 to 21 years of age to transition from out-of-home care to independent living and adulthood.

Every year approximately 500 young people, 16 to 18 years of age, have their Care by Secretary Order or Long Term Care Order cease under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (section 16) and transition from out-of-home care into adult independence.

Leaving care - planning

From 15 years of age, young people in out-of-home care will participate in the development of a 15 plus Care and Transition plan. This plan will include supports the young person needs to help them transition successfully into independence.

For more information, see Transition Planning for leaving care on our Providers website.

Leaving Care Hotline

A young person who is leaving out-of-home care in Victoria can call the Leaving Care Hotline to speak to someone for advice or for a referral to a range of support services.

The Leaving Care Hotline can provide young people with information about:

  • Finding accommodation or staying in existing accommodation
  • Staying in education or returning to studying
  • Looking for a job, or applying for on the job (vocational) training
  • Keeping a current job
  • Re-connecting with family
  • Financial help to maintain independence, if the young person has already left state care
  • Linking with other support services.

Melbourne City Mission's Frontyard Service manages our Leaving Care Hotline. Young people can use it to connect with their nearest post-care support program or ask about crisis accommodation. For more information, see under 'Contacts'.

Leaving Care - programs

There are a range of programs available to young people who are leaving care.

  • Post care support, referral and information services

    Post care support, referral and information services support young people aged 16 to 21 years who require assistance in their transition to independence once their care by secretary order or long term care order expires for the final time.

    To access this service, contact a Leaving care service provider or phone the Leaving Care Hotline (see 'Contacts').

  • Mentoring services

    Young people receive support from a case worker, mentoring, as well as access to brokerage money for items relating to accommodation, recreation, education and health.

    To access this service, contact a Leaving care service provider or phone the Leaving Care Hotline (see 'Contacts').

  • Leaving Care brokerage

    Young people aged 16 to 18 years transitioning from out-of-home care, and those aged up to 21 years of age who need support after leaving out-of-home care can access Leaving Care brokerage funding.

    To access this service, contact a Leaving care service provider or phone the Leaving Care Hotline (see 'Contacts').

  • Aboriginal Leaving Care

    Aboriginal leaving care aims to provide culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal young people transitioning from out-of-home care, including kinship care from 16 to 21 years of age.

    The service has flexibility to respond to exceptional circumstances where Aboriginal young people:

    • Require support to transition from kinship care arrangements and they are not subject to an order
    • Are outside the 16 to 21 years age range and are no longer involved with Child Protection, but still require assistance.

    To access this service, contact a Leaving care service provider or phone the Leaving Care Hotline (see 'Contacts').

  • Springboard

    This intensive education and employment support is available for young people living in, leaving, or who have left residential care - and who are disengaged from education, training or employment.

    Access this service, contact a Leaving care service provider or phone the Leaving Care Hotline (see 'Contacts').

    Springboard contact list (word)

  • Transition to independent living allowance

    Eligible young people can get a payment of up to $1500 to cover basic costs as they leave out-of-home care. This is under the Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) and is designed to pay for items such as education, counselling, medical costs, fridge, driver's licence or any other agreed items.

    Melbourne City Mission administers the TILA program in Victoria.

    Young people aged 15 to 25 years of age who are leaving or who have already left out-of-home care may be eligible.

    Further information about TILA eligibility is available on the Department of Social Services website or by calling the Melbourne City Mission Leaving Care Hotline (see 'Contacts').

  • Young people leaving care housing and support initiative

    This housing program helps support young people transitioning from out-of-home care who are at risk of homelessness with nomination rights to a limited number of transitional housing places. The target group is young people on Care by Secretary Order or Long Term Care Order in out-of-home care at risk of homelessness at cessation of their orders.

    Referrals are made by the placement coordinator in each departmental local area or by phoning the Leaving Care Hotline (see 'Contacts').

  • Skills First Youth Access initiative

    Skills First Youth Access initiative is for young people involved with child protection or youth justice orders and provides them with tuition fee waiver and a pathway to employment.

    The young person must be under 22 years of age as at 1 January in the year of first commencing education and training, and ‘has been’ or ‘currently on’ a Child Protection Order or a Youth Justice Order.

    The Skills First Youth Access initiative guidebook and referral form are available from the Victorian Department of Education and Training website, or call 13 1823.

  • SORTLI

    SORTLI ('sort out your life') is a fun, informative and easy-to-navigate, free mobile app for young people to help them with their transition to independence.

    A young person can access this free mobile app that's informative and easy to navigate, designed for young people to help them transition to independence.

    The SORTLI app is available from itunes (ios) and google play store (android).

    See a short video about the Sortli mobile app.

  • Go your own way info kit

    The Go Your Own Way Info Kit is a resource for young people aged 15 years and above who are starting to plan for their transition to adulthood and independence. The kit is filled with resources and information to assist the planning process and provide caseworkers, young people and carers with the information they need to plan for a successful transition.

  • Youthlaw Legal Pod Program

    The Youthlaw Legal Pod Program provides free long-term legal assistance to young people who have recently left out-of-home care. The program pairs a young person aged 18 to 25 years who has left out-of-home care with a group of private lawyers (pod) for up to 3 years to provide a broad range of legal assistance and support.

    Currently, the program is open to young people who live less than an hour’s travel from Melbourne CBD, with plans to make this program available Victoria-wide in the near future.

    Youthlaw can meet where the young person prefers (within an hour’s travel from Melbourne CBD) or at the Youthlaw office in Melbourne.

    For more information about the Legal Pod Program, email the Managing Lawyer or phone (03) 9611 2412 for a confidential discussion.