November is Transition From Care Month
For three years running, November has been celebrated as “Transition From Care Month”. It is the time of year when we are all asked to stop and fully reflect on the needs of around 400 Queensland young people who leave care each year. Very importantly, it is a time set aside for us to listen to these young people as they themselves tell us what they need to support them in their journeys to independence as young adults.
The key messages for “Transition From Care Month” in 2011 are:
- Firstly, during this time of “growing up”, the relationships young people have with adults who are significant in their lives are of vital importance to them.
- Secondly, in the midst of all the other work we do with children and young people, time and resources must be set aside to support young people in their transitions from care to independence.
- Thirdly, young people need all the adults who are significant in their lives to work together in collaboration to provide them with the support they require.
Each year, “Transition From Care Month” is planned and coordinated by the talented and hard-working G-Force team, a small band of representatives from the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, Department of Communities, Legal Aid, Youth Advocacy Centre, CREATE Foundation, Foster Care Queensland, Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak, PeakCare Queensland and, most importantly, young people themselves. This is a team whose endeavours exemplify the meaning of the terms “collaboration”, “partnership” and “participation”.
This year, G-Force has surpassed itself by organising the following strategies for “Transition From Care Month”:
- the development and distribution of a promotional kit containing “postcards” designed by young people to prompt thoughts about how other young people can be supported in their transition to independence, a letter from Phil Reeves, Minister for Child Safety, a “What’s The Answer?” DVD produced by the CREATE Foundation and green ribbons to wear as an insignia
- regional forums to discuss and promote ideas about supporting young people’s transition to independence, and
- a survey designed to explore both what works well and what needs to improve in supporting young people’s transitions.
If you have not yet completed the survey, please click here to take part.
The more responses that are received, the more we can rely on the data that is accumulated to inform improvements to our services. So far, 33 responses have been received but we know you can do much, much better than that!
The range of views that have been received to date is mixed. Some have highlighted positive initiatives that have been commenced, whilst others indicate that we have a long way to go.
An appropriate way of concluding this post is to feature some words of wisdom from a respondent to the survey. This person commented that a barrier to a young person’s successful transition occurs when the support provided to them constitutes “a sudden ‘doing to’ rather than a graduated, planned and individualised response informed and contributed to by the young person concerned”.
That seems like a very good note to end on. You may however wish to further explore the issues surrounding young people’s transition to independence by reading the following:
- Click here to read information about “Transition From Care Month” contained within the web-site of the Department of Communities
- Click here to read a Transition From Care Project Report produced by PeakCare Queensland
- Click here to read report Cards about Transition From Care produced by the CREATE Foundation
- Click here to read the summary report on the Views of Children and Young People in Foster Care Queensland 2010 produced by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian
Tim Johnston - Principal Partnership and Planning Officer, Peak Care Queensland
Lindsay Wegener – Executive Director, PeakCare Queensland