Transition from care: Are we continuing to set care leavers up to fail in New Zealand?

Nicola Atwool - Children and Youth Services Review


The need for a supported transition for young people leaving care in New Zealand has been acknowledged with the implementation of new legislation and policy from 1 July 2019. One advantage of the protracted delay is the ability to draw on international research evaluating the impact of changes made in other jurisdictions. The article begins with an introduction to the New Zealand context. Current international research on the experience of care leavers is reviewed to identify key lessons and continuing challenges. Published research on the lived experience of young people leaving care and theoretical perspectives, developed to support a clearer understanding of their needs, provide the focus for this review. A summary of key lessons and challenges provides the framework for a critical analysis of New Zealand’s approach before concluding with a discussion of the implications going forward.