You’re on your own, kid
Prior to recent changes, young people were forced to leave the state-care system for good and fend for themselves as soon as they turned 18 – often without any economic support. These young people faced significantly increased rates of homelessness, teenage pregnancy, incarceration, drug and alcohol abuse and unemployment.
Could keeping young people in state care for longer help?
Over the last five years the Deloitte Access Economics team has been performing a series of social and economic analysis projects for Home Stretch to provide much-needed data to inform the case for change.
The team initially developed a cost-benefit investment for five jurisdictions which tested the social, economic and lifetime benefits of increasing the age – the first of which focused on Victoria. This testing was supported with trials across different states, which allowed the team to compare each model and test whether the results were easily replicable.
The results were profound: discovering that extending care led to incredible benefits for both the young people and the government itself. These included significant government savings, individual and productivity benefits – as the young people who opted to stay in care experienced reduced homelessness, welfare, hospitalisation, incarceration rates, and drug and alcohol dependencies. Moreover, these results got stronger over time, further demonstrating the case for extend care.
The Deloitte Access Economics team’s hard work paid off: national policy changes were made and the state care age was successfully extended to 21 years old in almost every state across Australia. This life-transforming change began with the Victorian Government formally extending its care (which includes foster, residential and kinship) in 2021. Every Australian state (except Northern Territory) has followed suit since.
The work was led by partners Ian Trevorah, Luke Condon and Sruthi Srikanthan. In recognition of the critical role the team played in the campaign, Deloitte received a Home Stretch Award in 2018. In November 2022, Ian Trevorah met with the Hon Leanne Linard MP, Queensland Minister for Children and Youth Justice, to celebrate the Queensland Government’s commitment to providing extended care to its vulnerable youth.
Ian said, “I'm very proud of the part Deloitte was able to play in supporting the campaign to make the case for change through the social and economic analysis conducted by the Deloitte Access Economics team led by Luke Condon and Sruthi Srikanthan.” This is a wonderful result for Australian youth everywhere.