New $58.6 million package to support at-risk youth

Posted on January 6, 2021
  • $18 million support for PCYCs to continue important programs for young people
  • $37.2 million to support young Western Australians to stay in foster care to age 21
  • $3.4 million for crisis accommodation for teenagers in Perth’s northern suburbs 

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will deliver a $58.6 million boost to at-risk young Western Australians to help them in times of crisis and pave the way for a positive future.

As part of the plan, PCYCs will receive an $18 million boost to ensure ongoing funding certainty over the next four years and allow them to continue operating throughout WA.

PCYCs previously operated with only a year or two year funding guarantee, causing uncertainty and preventing opportunities to attract additional private sector funding.

The McGowan Labor Government will invest $37.2 million towards the Homestretch program, which supports young people who would exit the State’s child protection system when they turn 18 to maintain support to the age of 21.

Homestretch, a partnership between the Department of Communities and Anglicare, provides ongoing support including extensions to placements in foster care, housing guarantees, coaching and mentoring. 

The State Government’s trial of the program saw positive results, and a re-elected McGowan Labor Government will convert it into a permanent program, meaning around 200 young people per year will be supported until the age of 21.

Across Australia, people who leave the State care system at the age of 18 are over-represented in homelessness statistics and in the justice system. They are also more likely to leave education early and are over-represented in unemployment figures.

The approach of providing care options beyond 18 years of age has been proven overseas to achieve positive outcomes, reducing offending rates by a third, halving homelessness and doubling employment participation.

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will also provide $3.4 million to Youth Futures to support its new Teenagers in Need of Crisis Accommodation (TINOCA 2) facility in the northern suburbs. 

The expanded program will provide crisis accommodation for an additional six young people aged 15-19 at any given time, with residents being able to stay anywhere from one night up to three months depending on their situation.

TINOCA (Teenagers in Need of Crisis Accommodation) provides short term accommodation and assistance to young people aged 15-19 who are experiencing homelessness.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“We all know prevention is better than cure, which is why my Government is committed to investing in proven programs that support those who need it and ensure they have a pathway to a positive future.

“If re-elected, we will provide additional support to ensure at-risk young people do not slip through the cracks, to reduce the chances of interactions with the justice system.

“We know that many young Western Australians face challenges and require additional support. This $58.6 million commitment will deliver ongoing support to vital community resources like our PCYCs and ensure that support is available for those who may find themselves experiencing a crisis.

“Research has shown that young people in State care often experience difficulty once they leave the system at the age of 18. The Homestretch program has shown positive results, and will help bridge the gap that currently exists when young people leave State care.”