The transition from care: Avoidable costs to governments of alternative pathways of young people exiting the formal child protection care system in Australia

November 2006

The purpose of this Study was to establish the estimated costs and benefits to governments of the alternate pathways of this age cohort of young people on leaving the formal child protection care orders across Australia.


Around 1150 young people aged between 16 and 18 years of age left the formal child protection care system in Australia in 2003/2004 and this number has remained relatively stable for the past 2-3 years. This national research study was commissioned by the Community Services Ministerial Advisory Council (CSMAC) Youth Working Group. The key purpose of the study is to inform Ministers (and governments) about the current alternate pathways of young people after they leave formal care, and the comparative cost of these pathways to governments.

The study identified five 'typical' alternative pathways that young people might follow after leaving care, reflecting different levels of use of government services, from low usage to very high usage levels.

This report will further our understanding of the cost to governments of youth exiting care and will add to our knowledge and inform government policy in this important social policy area.


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