Young people leaving out-of-home care in Victoria, Australia: An exploration of factors influencing positive transitions

Sarah Butterworth, Philip Mendes, Catherine Flynn


Young people transitioning from out-of-home care are globally regarded as a vulnerable group due to traumatic experiences pre-care and within the out-of-home care system, stigmatisation by the wider community, and limited and ineffective support beyond 18 years of age. Yet, many care leavers overcome this adversity to achieve positive life outcomes post-care. This exploratory qualitative study examines the views of a small group of care leavers and foster carers within Victoria on the key factors that influenced positive transition outcomes. Particular attention is drawn to the importance of ongoing support from a close relationship with a trusted adult, a sense of belonging within a placement or extended family or community, the value of advocacy by care leavers and their key support persons, and a connected autonomy beyond 18 years which allowed care leavers to assert their independence without losing their “safety net” of support. These findings are highly relevant to policy makers given the recent introduction of extended care until 21 years for care leavers in Victoria.

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Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory

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