Communities and Justice

Mateo's plan

Mateo is 20 and recently returned from New Zealand where he has been living since leaving care. He approached his local Community Service Centre (CSC) to ask what help is available.

Mateo’s out-of-home care placement was managed by a non-government provider. He has not stayed in touch with them and although the CSC offers to reconnect him, Mateo says he would rather work with the CSC.

The Independent Living Allowance was not available when Mateo left care but he became eligible when he returned to Australia two months ago. The CSC caseworker adds the Independent Living Allowance to his after care case plan and financial plan, and back dates payment for 30 days. Unless his circumstances change, Mateo will be eligible for this fortnightly allowance until he turns 21.

Mateo has picked up work with a friend’s construction company. He is thinking about starting an apprenticeship or trade course but wants to spend more time in the industry before making a commitment. His caseworker tells him that if he decides to do any training he can come back for help with costs such as fees or equipment until he turns 25.

The caseworker considers what other after care support Mateo may need or be eligible for and submits a NSW TILA application (PDF, 575.5 KB) as this was not done earlier.

Mateo also wasn’t aware that he could ask to see records of his time in care and has been helped to apply for access to care records.

This example illustrates how an after care plan and planned financials for those who have left care, can be updated as needs and circumstances change.

Sometimes, as in the case of the Independent Living Allowance, a new service or type of help has become available.

At other times, things might have been missed in the flurry of activity around 18 or the young person might not have been ready. For example, Mateo may have been told about TILA but decided to wait until he returned from New Zealand.

A plan can be updated until age 25 and should only include what ‘is’ to happen, not what ‘might’ happen. In the future, Mateo might want to do some training and there might be costs associated. If that happens, that is when it should be added to his plan.

Practice point – A person is not turned away if they seek help from a CSC that did not manage their placement. A ‘no wrong door’ policy applies for care leavers.

If they need help, it is given. If the placement was managed by another agency such as a PSP or ITC provider, the CSC may ask them for information but will be guided by the young person and respect their right not to directly engage with the agency.

Last updated:

01 Aug 2023