A case study of policy failure: Young people transitioning from out of home care in Victoria

Leaving care
Thursday 26 July, 1320 – 1340


Associate Professor Philip Mendes
Monash University

Since August 2016, the Home Stretch campaign has been lobbying for all States and Territories to extend the leaving care age until at least 21. This national campaign has been effective in exposing the limited discretionary rather than mandatory support currently offered to most young care leavers as they move into adulthood. Although the overwhelming social and economic case for extended care has been placed on the public agenda for more than 20 years by specialist researchers, service providers, the media and care leavers, governments have failed to act.

This paper uses Victoria as a case study for analysing why long-term public recognition of the case for extended care has not moved into stages of policy formation, adoption and implementation. Attention is drawn to a number of possible explanations including continued stigmatisation of care leavers, budgetary challenges, and the competing demands for funding of out-of- home care services vs post-care services. Some conclusions are drawn as to why the Home Stretch campaign may finally persuade governments to meet their corporate parenting responsibilities.