Young people in care are a diverse group who share a common experience of being unable to live with their parent/s through no fault of their own.
Young people in care may live in a range of places, such as in foster care, in kinship care, group homes or various forms of independent living. Many young people in care face disadvantage that can affect their overall wellbeing. They may experience loss of self-esteem and feelings of isolation and shame, particularly when disconnected from their immediate and extended family networks.
It’s vital workers support and influence the decisions affecting young people lives. Workers must also assist these young people to access sufficient social and community support, so that they can be given the same life opportunities as their peers.
What does it mean to have the ACT Government as ‘parent’? In the Out-Of-Home-Care System the Territory takes on legal duties, powers and responsibilities parents would normally have in relation to their children. These duties, powers and responsibilities include: personal appearance and grooming; assessment of physical and mental wellbeing; people with whom the young person may or may not have contact; day to day aspects of the young person’s education, training and employment; medical treatment and other responsibilities set out in the Children and Young People’s Act.
Young people in care may feel disconnected, isolated and poorly informed and can experience a loss of power, inconsistency in caseworkers, a lack of participation in decisions and separation from family. Below are some tips on how you can better support a young person in care.
Workers can access training and advice from Care and Protection Services (Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services). The Training Unit can also do in-services. Contact Care and Protection Services for more information.
Phone: 1300 556 728
 Vardon, C (2004) The Territory as Parent – Review of the Safety of Children in Care in the ACT and of ACT Child Protection Management.
 Queensland Government, Department of Child Safety (2006) Practice Paper: Supporting Children and Young People in Care through Transitions, p1.
 Mason J and Gibson C (2004) The Needs of Children in Care. Social Justice and Social Change Research Centre, Sydney, University of Western Sydney and Uniting Care, Burnside, p 71.
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