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Factors for Young Adults Transitioning From State Out Of Home Care 3



Investigating The Factors For Young Adults Transitioning From State Out Of Home Care In Australia

Out of home care is defined as the provision of housing for persons under the age of 18. These groups of people are unable to stay with their parents or legal guardians due to a variety of reasons. Some of the most common out of home care systems in Australia include foster care by a family, kinship care, treatment foster care and residential care (Mendez, 2012; Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2005). The state is able to provide these systems with financial assistance in order to provide necessities for the children. There has been an increasing concern over the dismal success rates of enabling these children to transition successfully into adulthood and independence. This has been attributed to a number of reasons such as lack of emotional stability and insufficient resources.

The government is responsible for providing needs to this underprivileged section of the community (Broad, 2002, pg 16). Out of home care, children bear a sharp contrast in terms of transition and success as compared to their more privileged peers. It is also of great urgency that the government takes into consideration some of the challenges to be addressed in order to increase success rates of such children in the future. The state also needs to include all the stakeholders including social workers, department of social services, as the roles they play are critical in determining whether the children will become successful an independent adults.

A study investigating the circumstances and the result of out of home children was carried out. The study illustrated a significant level of difficulty experienced in children due to several reasons (Cashmore and Paxman, 2007, pg 10). In normal working class homes, children experience a certain level of difficulty in their endeavor to achieve financial independence from their parents or guardians. For children in out of home care systems, the difficulty is even more pronounced due to fewer opportunities.

For children in out of home systems, transition into independence becomes more difficult as they lack people to rely on in the event they encounter difficulties such as insufficient finances. This is also because they failed to form sufficient emotional bond with their caregivers during the time they were under care. This is in direct contrast to children who grow up in normal family homes, as they are able to rely on their parents or guardians. The study also revealed that the underprivileged children face an unfair disadvantage in employment, as their levels of education do not qualify them for steady jobs.

In a similar longitudinal study, results indicated that children expressed concerns over the lack of information as to why they were required to leave home and be put under care by the state. This was especially common among the younger children, who had suffered physical and emotional abuse from their guardian. Frost and Stein (2004) reported that these children were simply taken from their homes and into the foster care system without reasonable explanation as to why they were there and for how long they would stay. This only aggravated the lack of stability and uncertainty they were already facing. The longitudinal study carried out also indicated that employment rates were lower than the average national. Only five out of the 77 interviewed employees were able to secure a steady job. There was a high pregnancy rate among the female care leavers (Cashmore and Paxman, 1996, pg. 45).

The ability to become successful in the future is determined by the period under which the state affords them ward ship. The manner in which these children are raised will determine their success rates in the future. From the results, care leavers were seen to be more likely to become employed in unstable low skilled and low paying jobs as compared to their privileged peers. Care leavers were also seen to have an inability to form lasting relationships as a result of the low levels of emotional stability experienced during ward ship. Care leavers were grouped into three categories with respect to their rates of success in their transition:

  • Moving on: This group of children experienced the highest success rate of transition into independence and adulthood. They were able to secure well paying jobs. they experienced success in terms of social relationships and financial stability

  • Survivors: This group was less successful in securing well paying jobs. Most of the individuals in this category experienced financial instability that led to homelessness. They also had weak personal and professional rapports (Pinkerton and Mccrea, 2009 and Barrett, 2007). 

  • Strugglers; This group experienced the most difficulty during their transition. Individuals were likely to suffer from mental instability in addition to the experiences of the second group (survivors).

64 percent of the interviewed individuals lacked a comprehensive framework of their objectives once they leave care. After 12 months of leaving care, an estimated 28 percent faced unemployment that would provide them with the needed financial stability. For the studied male leavers, a significant proportion was incorporated into the juvenile justice system. Of all the leavers interviewed, 35 percent lacked a place they could go to, and were thus rendered homeless. This research therefore illustrated the urgent need for the state to take responsibility for the plights of care leavers (Maunders, Liddell, Liddell, and Green, 1999 pg. 45). The author asserted that the government needs to draft an all-inclusive framework for providing these children with the basic requirements necessary for their success in transition.

The financial requirements of a consolidated care structure will provide the government with the necessary information to provide care leavers with assistance with their transition. The study revealed that there was need to provide better care through improved services from the staff. Thus there is need to train the staff on better ways to improve management and relationship with children. This will increase their chances of stability, as they grow older (Johnson, Natalier, Bailey, and Kunnen, 2009, pg 36). The study also revealed that due to the high rates of homelessness, there was a necessity to provide accommodation facilities before they are able to establish themselves financially.

In conclusion, children leaving care face many difficulties in their efforts to achieve stability and independence. Contrary to their more privileged peers, children experience higher rates of unemployment, crime, financial instability, and homelessness. However, sufficient research has revealed that a lot can be done to mitigate the negative effects of out of home care in these children. This will require more involvement of the state to provide resources that aid better care (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2010). Resources will assist in better quality education to increase their chances of employment and financial stability. Training of staff will enable children to become more emotionally stable individual who are able to form meaningful and lasting relationships in the future. The research is also a platform for further studies that will aid in gathering information within the scope of children leaving care.


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Clayden, J., & Stein, M. (2005). Mentoring young people leaving care: ‘someone for me’. York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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Mendes, P., Johnson, G., & Moslehuddin, B. (2011). Young people leaving state out-of-home care: Australian policy and practice. North Melbourne, Vic, Australian Scholarly Pub

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