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Group Review of Young People with Disabilities leaving Statutory Care (2004)

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  1. Group Review of Young People with Disabilities leaving Statutory Care (2004) • Review comprised 27 young people leaving care in 2004, of these: • 18 young people has an intellectual disability; three had autism; six had developmental delay

  2. Key Messages Joint Planning • ADHC and Community Services needed to conduct joint planning for young people with disabilities Timeliness • Planning needs to be timely – commencing two years before exit from care – this was not the case for any of the young people in our review • For the majority (19), planning commenced later than six months before exit

  3. Key Messages continued Planning needs to address basic needs • Plans generally did not address basic needs which were apparent from the young peoples’ case files. • The plan goal for 14 young people was transition to independent living but only six of them were actually assessed in relation to their independent living skills. • Accommodation options were not resolved at the time of review for most of the 27 young people.

  4. Key Messages continued Outcomes • During our review CS and [the former] DADHC agreed on service arrangements for children and young people in care with a disability. These included CS notifying DADHC two years before exit from care of young people likely to have significant support needs after care. • In 2006-2007, the first Stronger Together plan included provision of substantial new funding to support exit from care for young people with disabilities.

  5. Review of a Group of Young People leaving care in 2009 (2010) Findings – what was working well • Planning met at least minimum standards for half of the group of care leavers • Arrangements were working well between CS and ADHC to ensure that young people with disabilities and those with high support needs are supported • Young people with complex and high support needs were prioritised in leaving care planning

  6. Review of a Group of Young People leaving care in 2009 (2010) continued What was not working well • Timeliness of leaving care planning • Engaging young people • Assessing their needs • Developing and approving the leaving care plan • Victim’s compensation • Financial and administrative aspects of planning • Aftercare support

  7. Review of a Group of Young People leaving care in 2009 (2010) continued Key messages • Plan early • Engage young people and carers • Provide accessible information • Assess comprehensively and review • Understand the guidelines • Polices supported by good systems • Collaborative local relationships • Focus on transition – not just leaving care date • Develop plans that are realistic and deliverable

  8. Victims Compensation • Our 2009 review identified cases where Community Services failed to act on legal advice that children in care were eligible for a victims compensation claim, or where the agency delayed taking such action for many years. •  As a result, we investigated Community Services’ strategies and systems for identifying and handling victims compensation matters. Our investigation – published in 2010 – found that these strategies and systems were inadequate. • As part of the investigation, we reviewed the files for 95 children and young people in OOHC whose records showed that they were likely to have been victims of crime. They included: • 82 children/young people we identified from Children’s Court records • 13 siblings of child homicide victims • Most of review group had been in care for at least two years but – at the time of investigation – less than half (42%) had had their files reviewed for victims compensation purposes.

  9. Victims Compensation continued Outcomes • Over the period 2005-2009, Community Services lodged on average 92 victims compensation claims each year for children in OOHC. • Since our investigation, data from Victims Services shows that for the period 2008-2012, Community Services has made considerable improvements in lodging claims, with an annual average of about 330 claims lodged. • FACS-CS recently gave us new data for 2012-13 – this shows a further significant increase in performance with 1,142 victims compensation claims being lodged in that period. • Notwithstanding these encouraging figures our most recent leaving care review – discussed below – shows that there is still considerable room for improvement in the area of victims compensation and kids in OOHC.

  10. Review of a Group of Young People Leaving Care in 2011 (2012) Background • Community Services had responded to the problems that we had identified in our 2009 review of leaving care by new practices and procedures. However, the agency advised us that it could not demonstrate improved performance because of limitations in its data systems. For this reason, we conducted another review in 2011 – examining 90 care leavers. Comparison of findings from the 2009 and 2011 reviews • We compared leaving care planning for the group of 73 young people from our 2009 review and 90 care leavers in 2011. • The proportion of the review group that left care with an endorsed leaving care plan in 2009 was 8%; in 2011 this increased to 22%. • However, in terms of those who left care with a plan – whether it was endorsed or not – in 2009 it was 57 per cent of the group, and in 2011 it was 58 per cent.

  11. Other findings from 2011 review group • Of the 70 care leavers for whom a leaving care plan was provided, planning commenced in a timely manner for only 12 (17 per cent). • Of the 70 care leavers with a leaving care plan, we considered that overall leaving care planning and support was inadequate for 32 young people. • In terms of young people with a disability, most of these care leavers were appropriately referred to ADHC’s Leaving Care Program, but many of these referrals were significantly delayed. • Leaving care planning and support was inadequate for six of the seven care leavers who were in Juvenile Justice detention in the 12 months prior to their exit from care.

  12. Other findings from 2011 review group continued Victims compensation • A majority (79 per cent) of care leavers who had a plan had been referred for a victims compensation audit while they were in care. • 24 young people were identified as eligible to claim victims compensation – of these, 14 claims were lodged. • We were concerned to find that Community Services wrote to six young people after they left care, advising that they were responsible for pursuing their own claim.

  13. Our recommendations • I our report we said that it is vital for Community Services to develop – in close consultation with the OOHC sector and the Guardian – a systematic plan to achieve significant improvements in leaving care practice, and to collect and report the evidence to demonstrate the outcomes. • In addition, in relation to victims compensation, we also recommended that Community Services –together with its partners -should address the need for a uniform sector-wide system that deals with this issue and is able to track and report on outcomes.