Budget 2019: Government announce new transition service for young people leaving state care

The Government has announced a new transition service for young people leaving state care as part of this year's Wellbeing Budget.

The Budget is investing $153.7 million over four years for Oranga Tamariki to build the service, which has been designed to ensure young New Zealanders leaving the care system will be supported as they move to adulthood and independence.

The service was originally proposed in 2015 by the Modernising Child, Youth and Family Panel and is expected to help around 3,000 young people over the next four years.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin said that making the investment now reduced the risk of personal cost to young people and would help break the cycle of families needing state care.

"It is time to recognise the special responsibility we have for the young people leaving the state’s care," Martin said.

"For too long they have been left to fend for themselves with little support, in a way we would never accept for our own children when they leave home.

“For these young people, the transition to adulthood often comes early, abruptly, and with little in the way of a safety net. It has been a huge hole in our system of care that young people didn’t have this support. It’s time to fix that."

The Minister added young people who have been in the care or youth justice systems had had a difficult start to life and it was wrong that support for them ended when they turned 18.

"Nearly 30 per cent of children in care have parents who have also been in care," she said.

"Teenagers leaving care should have the right to expect what any young person would want - knowing there is someone to turn to if they need help; a warm bed to sleep in; some help and encouragement when it is needed."

The service, which will largely be provided by NGOs, iwi and Māori organisations, will launch on July 1.

The new services include:

• 175 new specialist transition support staff by year four providing day-to-day support to individual young people as they transition out of care.

• 60 supported accommodation places by year four for young people who need a stepping stone to make a successful transition to independent living.

• $25 million over four years to support arrangements for young people to continue to live with their caregiver beyond the age of 18.

• $9 million over four years to provide advice and assistance to individual young people transitioning from care to independence, up to the age of 25.

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The change will cost the government $153.7 million over four years for new measures for those in state care until they're 21. Source: 1 NEWS

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