Breakfast event focused on supporting positive reform for vulnerable young people
Breakfast event focused on supporting positive reform for vulnerable young peopleMonday, 13 February 2017
We were proud to support the Home Stretch campaign at our first ever Opening of the legal year breakfast event on 2 February.
The Home Stretch is a national movement advocating that an option should be available for young people in the out-of-home care system to remain in care until the age of 21. Many young people leaving out-of-home care experience poor transitions to adulthood and unsatisfactory life outcomes because the state terminates its support when they turn 18, including increased homelessness, hospitalisations, unemployment and arrests.
Nicole Rich, Executive Director Family, Youth and Children’s Law welcomed guests and our event speakers Paul McDonald, Susan Baidawi and Dylan.
Paul McDonald is Chief Executive Officer of Anglicare Victoria, the State’s largest provider of foster care, family welfare and youth support services, and Chair of Home Stretch. Paul spoke passionately about the need for reform and noted the reduction in pressure on the justice system that this reform would bring.
Paul was joined by Dylan, a young man who is a recent care leaver. Dylan is now a Home Stretch ambassador and he shared his story of being asked to start planning for leaving home when he was only 15 and what it is like to be scared about turning 18 and not having anywhere to live.
Susan Baidawi, Senior Research Officer, Department of Social Work, Monash University spoke about Australian and international laws for out-of-home care and how is Victoria placed. She highlighted that this reform focused on a relatively small number of young people, making it affordable and realistic to implement.
Nicole Rich, Executive Director Family, Youth and Children’s Law thanked more than 80 guests who attended this inaugural not-for-profit event. She said Victoria Legal Aid is proud to support the Home Stretch as a campaign for positive, sensible, compassionate, evidence-based reform.
‘The success of Victoria Legal Aid’s first Opening of the legal year event is a reflection of the dedication and enthusiasm of our colleagues and friends from the private bar, private law firms, community legal services, social and community service agencies and academic institutions, as well as our own staff, to work together to advocate for positive change for vulnerable young people,’ Nicole said.
Victoria Legal Aid also recently released the Care Not Custody report, which aims to reduce criminalisation of children in residential care. We are also in the midst of reviewing our legally aided child protection services, and we hope that the result of that review will be better results for children, and accordingly a reduction in the need those children have for legal services later in life.
Home Stretch is supported by over 80 organisations representing the areas of youth service delivery, homelessness, academia and legal firms. You can sign up as a supporter and support the campaign on social media via @The_HomeStretch and #makeit21.