Skip to main content

The Housing Pathways and Experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth as They Transition from out of Home Care in Victoria and Western Australia

Abstract

It is well established that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are over-represented in Australian child protection and out-of-home care systems. Despite this, there has been limited analysis of their exit from care pathways. This study, based on interviews with 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth from Victoria and Western Australia (who were a sub-set of a larger study of 34 care leavers), examined their transition experiences and outcomes in relation to accessing stable and affordable housing. While all care leavers spoke of poor or non-existent transition planning, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants were more likely to report incidences of homelessness and more complex experiences in a range of areas. Importantly, the group identified a need for culturally appropriate service models which built on and enhanced cultural and kinship connections.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • ACIL Allen Consulting (2020). Towards Independent Adulthood Trial Evaluation, Canberra, Department of Social Services

  • Atwool, N. (2020). Transition from care: Are we continuing to set care leavers up to fail in New Zealand. Children and Youth Services Review, 113, 104995. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.104995

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). (2021a). Child Protection Australia 2019–20, Child welfare series no. 74. Cat. no. CWS 78. Canberra, AIHW. Retrieved 09/12/21 from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2019-20/summary

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021b). Income support receipt for young people transitioning from out-of-home care. Cat. no. CWS 82. Canberra, AIHW

  • Baidawi, S. (2016). Continuing Care in Australia: an analysis of state and territory legislation and policy. Anglicare Victoria and Home Stretch

  • Baidawi, S., Mendes, P., & Saunders, B. (2016). The complexities of cultural support planning for indigenous children in and leaving out-of-home care: the views of service providers in Victoria, Australia. Child & Family Social Work, 22(2), 731–740. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12289.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baldry, E., Trofimovs, J., Brown, J., Brackertz, N., & Fotheringham, M. (2015). Springboard evaluation report. Australia and Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

  • Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2019). Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11(4), 589–597. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676x.2019.1628806

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Collins, M., & Augsberger, A. (2021). Impacts of policy changes on care-leaving workers in a time of coronavirus: Comparative analysis of discretion and constraints. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 23(1), 51–62.

    Google Scholar 

  • Commission for Children and Young People (2020). Keep caring: systemic inquiry into services for young people transitioning from out-of-home care. CCYP. Retrieved from https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/upholding-childrens-rights/systemic-inquiries/keep-caring/

  • Department of Human Services (2012). Transitioning from out-of-home care: support for Aboriginal young people. State Government Victoria

  • Department of Health and Human Services (2017). Housing assistance for young people transitioning from care. Victorian Government

  • Dietrich-Ragon, P. (2020). Leaving the child welfare services: From institutional housing to the initial steps on the housing market. Population-E, 75(4), 507–538.

    Google Scholar 

  • Family Matters (2020). The Family Matters Report 2020: Measuring trends to turn the tide on the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in Australia. Family Matters

  • Fast, E., Ismail Allouche, Z., Drouin Gagne, M., & Boldo, V. (2019). Indigenous youth leaving care in Canada. In V. Mann-Feder & M. Goyette (Eds.), Leaving care and the transition to adulthood (pp. 243–260). Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Friesen, B. Cross, T. Jivanjee, P. Thirstrup, A. Bandurraga, A. Gowen, L. & Rountree, J. (2014) ‘Meeting the transition needs of urban American Indian/Alaska native youth through culturally based services’, Journal of Behavioural Health Sciences & Research, 191-205. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11414-014-9447-2.

  • Johnson, G., Natalier, K., Mendes, P., Liddiard, M., Thoresen, S., Hollows, A., & Bailey N., (2010). Pathways from out-of-home care, AHURI Final Report No.147. Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

  • Krakouer, J., Wise, S., & Connolly, M. (2018). We live and breathe through culture: Conceptualising cultural connection for indigenous Australian children in out-of-home care. Australian Social Work, 71(3), 265–276.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lalonde, J., Thomson, A., Duncan, K., & Roger, K. (2020). Hearing their voices: Youths’ experiences of unstable housing and homelessness post care. Qualitative Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325020923022

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lima, F., Maclean, M., & O’Donnell, M. (2018). Exploring outcomes for children who have experienced out-of-home care. Telethon Kids Institute: Perth.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malvaso, C., Delfabbro, P., & Day, A. (2017). The child protection and juvenile justice nexus in Australia: A longitudinal examination of the relationship between maltreatment and offending. Child Abuse & Neglect, 64, 32–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.11.028

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mendes, P., Johnson, G. and Moslehuddin, B. (2011) Young People Leaving State Out-of-home Care, Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing.

  • Mendes, P. (2019). A case study of policy inaction: Young people transitioning from out-of-home care in Victoria. Social Work and Policy Studies, 2(1), 1–18.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mendes, P., & McCurdy, S. (2019). Policy and practice supports for young people transitioning from out-of-home care: An analysis of six recent inquiries in Australia. Journal of Social Work, 20(5), 599–619. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017319852702.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mendes, P., Standfield, R., Saunders, B., McCurdy, S., Walsh, J., Turnbull, L., & Armstrong, E. (2020). Indigenous care leavers in Australia: A national scoping study. Melbourne: Monash University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mendes, P. (2021). The case for a national extended care framework to lift the outcomes for care leavers. Australian Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2021.1910323.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mendes, P. (2021). Extending out-of-home care in the State of Victoria, Australia: The policy context and outcomes. Scottish Journal of Residential Care, 20(1), 1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDowall, J. (2016). Connection to culture by indigenous children and young people inout-of-home care in Australia. Communities, Children and Families Australia, 10(2), 5–26.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDowall, J. (2020). Transitioning to adulthood from out-of-home care: independence or interdependence. CREATE Foundation

  • Power, L., & Raphael, D. (2018). Care leavers: A British affair. Child and Family Social Work, 23(3), 346–353. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12421

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Productivity Commission (2021). Report on Government Services 2021: Child Protection Services. PC

  • Sheehan, R. (2020). Culture and indigeneity: risk and responses for indigenous crossover children. In S. Baidawi & R. Sheehan (eds.) Crossover children in the youth justice and child protection systems. Routledge, 80–92

  • SNAICC (2021). Turning the tide: designing a new plan to address the over- representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. SNAICC

  • Strahl, B., Van Breda, A., Mann-Feder, V., & Schroer, W. (2020). A multinational comparison of care-leaving policy and legislation. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy. https://doi.org/10.1017/ics.2020.26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Turnbull, L., Chavulak, J., & Mendes, P. (2021). What does Australian research tell us about best practice housing pathways for young people transitioning from out-of-home care? Parity, 34(1), 12–15.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thoburn, J. (2008). Globalisation and child welfare: Some lessons from a cross-national study of children in out-of-home care. University of East Anglia

  • Tilbury, C. (2015). Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander families in Australia: poverty and child welfare involvement. In E. Fernandez, A. Zeira, T. Vecchiato and C. Canali (eds.) Theoretical and Empirical Insights into Child and Family Poverty: Cross National Perspectives. Springer International Publishing, 273–284.

  • Van Breda, A. D., Munro, E. R., Gilligan, R., Anghel, R., Harder, A,. Incarnato, M., Mann-Feder, V., Refaeli, T., Stohler, R., & Storo, J. (2020). Extended care: global dialogue on policy, practice and research. Children and Youth Services Review, 119, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105596

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jacinta Chavulak.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Jau, J., Mendes, P., Chavulak, J. et al. The Housing Pathways and Experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth as They Transition from out of Home Care in Victoria and Western Australia. Int. Journal on Child Malt. 5, 319–336 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42448-022-00115-y

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42448-022-00115-y

Keywords

  • Transitions from care
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth
  • Out−of−home care
  • Housing
  • Care leavers