Thousands of young Australians, through no fault of their own, are raised in inadequate family environments, leading them to landing in the foster care system.
While the foster care system provides essential support for children and adolescents around Australia, at-risk youths can face unprecedented challenges when they are forced to leave the system at eighteen years old. Of the approximately 17,860 children in foster care in 2018, 35% of evicted youths became homeless in the first year of leaving care. This rate was detrimentally out of proportion when compared with the 1% of homelessness within the general Australian population.
Youth leaving the foster care system also face long-term barriers to gaining stable employment, as only 35% of adolescents in the system graduate secondary education, and almost 50% of males and 20% of females have had contact with the criminal justice system.
Foster Care Angels, a not-for-profit located in New South Wales, is working to change the trajectory of these young adults through ‘The Launch Pad’ initiative by providing fully funded long-term living options to ex-foster care children aged 18 and above.
Once settled into their new housing, participants are able to re-engage with education and training pathways and take part in essential life skills training to gain employment and independence. The youths will also have access to ongoing support through weekly counselling sessions and the allocation of a personal mentor.
To continue the successful efforts of the Foster Care Angels, The Lottery Office has donated $10,000 to furnish the first two apartments of ‘The Launch Pad’, which will support four Australian youths facing homelessness.
The Lottery Office General Manager Jaclyn Wood said the initiative would set the foundations for the future success of these young adults.
“The $10,000 donation will enable Foster Care Angels to completely furnish two two-bedroom apartments with brand new furniture, whitegoods and homewares - everything needed to give young adults the opportunity for a fresh start,” Ms Wood said. “Having access to housing is the base of The Launch Pad initiative, and from there Foster Care Angels can provide these youths with the skills and confidence to shape their lives as adults. “Having a stable home environment is the basis for a happy, healthy life and The Lottery Office is proud to support the amazing work of Foster Care Angels to help these young people on their way.”
The Lottery Office urges anyone interested in donating to the Foster Care Angels to visit their website.