The Home Stretch Campaign developed by Anglicare Victoria of Collingwood, VIC is a finalist in the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards.
Led by CEO Paul McDonald, Anglicare Victoria’s Home Stretch campaign is recognised for advocating for the government to extend their support for young people in foster, kinship and residential care to the age of 21. The government withdraws all formal support to a child in out-of-home care when they turn 18. This includes the removal of caseworkers, counselling services and financial benefits for foster and kinship carers.
With 18 to 21-year-olds from out-of-home care experiencing high rates of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, pregnancies and run-ins with the law, Anglicare Victoria has called for significant systematic change. A recent Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by Home Stretch showed there would be a return of two dollars for every dollar invested by the government in extending State Care for young people up to 21 years old.
Paul and his team have seen significant progress to date with the Tasmanian, South Australian, Western Australian, Victorian and the Australian Capital Territory governments committing in principle to increase the age to 21, and the West Australian government promising to trial a variation of the program. In Victoria, the Government has committed $11.6 million to extend care to 21 years of age for 250 young people over the next five years. The Home Stretch team continues to advocate for change by attending conferences, meeting with politicians and speaking to the media.