From today, January 1, 2019, family-based carers will be able to access carer payments for young people up to age 21, providing greater stability and opportunities for them to thrive and reach their full potential.
The extended care payments from aged 18 to 21 was a key Liberal Government election commitment.
The new Stability in Family-Based Care program provides both foster and kinship carers extended payments for young people to age 21.
The carers of young people who turned 18 after July 1 this year will be eligible to receive fortnightly payments of $738.40 when the program rolls out in January. About 65 young people in South Australia are eligible for the program and young people aged 17.5 can apply to the program.
Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said the extended carer payments enables young people to feel supported to remain in their family-based care placement to age 21, giving them added stability and security to help them reach their full potential.
“This Liberal Government commitment will provide young people in family-based care with the extra security they need to branch out into the workforce, attend university or gain further training,” said Minister Sanderson.
“As the cost of living increases, we cannot expect young people to survive on their own without any additional support and this new program gives children – and now young adults – continued financial support, through their carers, when they need it most.
“The conclusion of carer payments at 18 years is out of date and inconsistent with the current trend of young people choosing to stay at home into their 20s.
“The extended foster care payments to families has a range of long-term benefits, including reduced long-term costs to government.
“We know that children who are supported in the family home past the age of 18 are going to do better in terms of their education, employment, friendships and their mental health.
“Staying in a family environment longer gives young people the opportunity to develop life skills to equip them for their future.
“Extending the carer payments is also recognition of the important work our foster and kinship carers do in providing a safe and loving environment for vulnerable young people.
“It means the state’s selfless foster and kinship carers do not have the shoulder the cost burden themselves, which means they could assist other, young foster children in the future.”
For more information about the program or to find out if you are eligible, visit: https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/children-care/information-foster-and-kinshipcarers/carer-support-payments
For more information about foster care phone: 1300 2 FOSTER