Advantaged thinking in out of home care: Preparing young people for independence using a capabilities approach

Transforming policy reforms into practice in the statutory family – a case study of Victorian leaving care initiatives
Friday 27 July


Marion Coddou
Brotherhood of St Laurence Research and Policy Centre

There is widespread recognition that the Victorian out-of-home care (OOHC) system too often fails to adequately support young people in their transition to living independently. Research suggests that low expectations, a focus on past trauma and disadvantage, and a preoccupation with crisis and risk management in OOHC can limit the future planning and connections to mainstream opportunities that ease that transition.
Certificate I in Developing Independence (DI) is an accredited, foundation-level course aimed at advancing the capabilities of young people by developing their goals, planning skills, and opportunities across six areas (education, employment, housing, health and wellbeing, social connections, and civic participation). The course combines mainstream opportunities based on the student’s aspirations with individual reflective and skill-building sessions. It is typically delivered over a six-month period by an educator in partnership with a youth development worker. DI practice champions an Advantaged Thinking approach, which builds on young people’s strengths and aspirations to expand their opportunities and capacity to make the most of them.
From March 2017 until June 2018, DI is being trialled in Victoria’s OOHC system by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in partnership with Anglicare Victoria and Berry Street with the objectives of increasing young people’s self-determination over their futures and introducing an Advantaged Thinking practice approach to OOHC. The presentation will cover lessons learned from an evaluation of the pilot and recommendations for policy and practice.