Good Practice in Supporting Young People Leaving Care

Nadine Cameron, Lynne McPherson, Kathomi Gatwiri, Natalie Parmenter - Australian Childhood Foundation Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care & Southern Cross University


The move to independent living is challenging for any young person, requiring the exercise of many new skills and navigation of a range of social institutions with which they may be unfamiliar. A successful transition to independence relies on a young person’s possession of considerable personal, financial and social resources. Young people leaving out-of-home care often lack the economic advantages and social connectedness of their peers. They may also compare poorly to their peers in terms of their emotional or general development (Cashmore and Paxman 2007). Young people leaving residential care, need not only excellent preparation for the range of responsibilities that post-care life will bestow on them, but also a range of supports that will extend into their post-care life.

This research summary provides an overview of what young people leaving residential care need and how those working in residential care can best help young people prepare for independence. In particular, the summary looks at:

  • What are some of the challenges facing young people leaving care?
  • What do we know about what young people need?
  • What resources are available to young people leaving care?
  • What are the key messages from research in this area?