From aspiration to opportunity: Developing Independence in out-of-home care

10 October 2018

By Marion Coddou and Joseph Borlagdan, 2018

The Certificate I in Developing Independence addresses gaps in out-of-home care by offering both an approach and a structure for engaging young people in education and future planning based on their aspirations.


One of the primary goals of out-home-care for young people over the age of 15 is preparing them for independence after care by ensuring they have access to quality education and planning for their futures.

However, research on the educational pathways of young people in out-of-home care consistently finds that unstable housing and limited support, guidance and expectations from adults contribute significantly to low educational attainment. While carers are mandated to engage young people in transition planning, a focus on trauma, crisis and risk management in OOHC means that planning is often conducted with an eye towards compliance and without the young person’s input. In this context, Developing Independence was introduced to provide a structure and approach to engaging young people in education and future planning based on their aspirations. 

This evaluation considered stage 2 of the Developing Independence in Out-of-home Care pilot, supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Victorian Department of Education and delivered in northern Melbourne by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in partnership with Anglicare and Berry Street. It identified the key program mechanisms and conditions that supported pilot goals at three levels:

  • encouraging young people’s engagement in DI and mainstream opportunities
  • expanding young people’s capabilities
  • orienting OOHC staff practice towards aspirational future thinking.

Download From aspiration to opportunity: Developing Independence in out-of-home care (PDF, 645 KB)

See also the earlier report by Aaron Hart, Joseph Borlagdan and Shelley Mallett, Paying attention to the future: piloting the Certificate 1 in Developing Independence in out-of-home care settings (PDF, 606 KB)

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