A new program to help young people transition to independent adult life after being in state care has helped 500 people in its first year of operation.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman marked the first anniversary of the Next Step After Care program in Beenleigh yesterday (16 March), joining in a celebration with representatives of Life Without Barriers and other providers supporting the program.
Minister Fentiman said she was pleased to see so many young people benefiting from the program.
“Signing a lease, preparing for a job interview or managing your money can be daunting for any young person, but many people have strong family or friendship networks to help them along the way,” Ms Fentiman said.
“I want young people leaving care to have similar support and help, with the realisation that although early life obstacles shape us, they don’t need to determine our success.
“A year ago, Next Step launched Queensland’s first targeted service, dedicated to supporting young people up to age 21, as they move out of care and on to establishing independent lives.
“Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, with 500 young Queenslanders already accessing the service to receive 24/7 information and crisis support.
“I thank Life Without Barriers, South Burnett CTC, Integrated Family and Youth Services and Youth Empowered Towards Independence for their efforts in making this fantastic program a great success.”
Life Without Barriers is one of the program’s major providers and State director Brad Swan said the message to young people over the past 12 months was simple — there is help out there, even after you’ve left care.
“Sometimes young people just need a bit of advice or guidance about how to navigate the typical things that may come up in their adult lives that they’ve not had to deal with before,” he said.
“Whether it’s assistance with finding accommodation, budgeting, undertaking further study and looking for work, health advice or navigating relationships with family and friends, Next Step can help with all kinds of problems — big or small.
“Young people who have left care can contact us anytime, about anythingby calling or texting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
For more information about Next Step After Care call 1800NEXTSTEP (1800 639 878) or visit www.nextstepaftercare.
For more information about transition to independence visit www.qld.gov.au/youth/family-