ACT Extends Care Leaver Support to Age 21 with $10 Million Budget Boost

ACT, Australia

In a significant move, the ACT Legislative Assembly has passed legislation that extends support for young people leaving statutory out of home care until their 21st birthday. The reform is part of the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2024 (No. 2) and is backed by $10 million in the ACT Budget. This new model of support aims to assist young adults transitioning to adulthood from the out of home care system.

Minister for Children, Youth and Family Services Rachel Stephen-Smith highlighted the challenges faced by young people leaving out of home care. She said, “The ACT was one of the first jurisdictions to establish formal financial support for young people up to the age of 21 and their carers, as well as after-care supports up to the age of 25.”

The legislation, coupled with budget funding, ensures that young adults have a right to access comprehensive support. This includes continuing their education, gaining employment, and establishing stable housing and living arrangements. Discretionary support will continue to be available up to the age of 25, providing an additional safety net for those who need it.

The Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2024 (No. 2) also includes other key Government commitments such as the establishment of an external merits review process for child protection decisions and a framework for Charters for young people, parents, and carers involved in the child protection system.

This legislation marks a significant step forward in the ACT’s commitment to modernizing the Children and Young People Act and improving their response to the needs of children, young people, and their families and carers. For more information about the ACT Government’s reform of child, youth, and family services, visit .