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

Authors
Marion Coddou and Joseph Borlagdan
Published
2018

The Stage Two evaluation of the Developing Independence program in an out-of-home care pilot.

At a glance

Developing Independence is a program that aims to engage young people in education and future planning based on their aspirations. It was initially created for service-connected young people who could use extra supports in life.

The program was used in the out-of-home care (OOHC) setting to prepare young people for independent living once they leave care. This means making sure they have access to quality education, outings like job tasters and support in planning for their future.

In this stage two evaluation of the Developing Independence in out-of-home care pilot the authors looked at whether the program achieved its goals.

Dive deeper

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 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 was supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Victorian Department of Education. The pilot was delivered in northern Melbourne by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence in partnership with Anglicare and Berry Street.

The evaluation 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

Last updated on 28 February 2020

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In this series

By Aaron Hart, Joseph Borlagdan and Shelley Mallett 2017

This study examined stage 1 of a pilot program to help prepare young people in out-of-home care to navigate the transitions to an independent young adulthood.

Read report