Better Futures is a Victorian Government funded program especially to support young people living in out-of-home care, plan and prepare for transition from care.
Better Futures aims to engage earlier with care leavers, supporting them to have an active voice in their transition planning, and providing individualised supports across a range of life areas including housing, education, employment, and community and cultural connections.
All eligible young people are referred to their local Better Futures provider. The level of support offered by Better Futures is dependent upon the circumstances of the young person and the capacity of the provider to meet demand. Support available through the Better Futures program is provided in the context of the young person’s current care status – either when the young person is in care OR when the young person has left care (post-care).
The young person is referred to Better Futures at 15 years and 9 months by their case manager (DHHS Child Protection or contracted) via the Client Relationship Information System/Service Providers (CRIS/SP).
A Better Futures worker provides secondary consultation to the care team, lending expertise to the transition planning process. The worker supports the care team, including the young person where appropriate, to identify goals and actions for inclusion in the 15+ Care and Transition Plan based on the Looking After Children (LAC) domains.
The young person is provided with a level of support commensurate with their needs, circumstances and existing support systems. Young people may receive high, medium, or low levels of support or be placed on active hold. These levels of support correlate with a notional allocation of hours. Young people on active hold receive, at a minimum, a quarterly “check-in” (in person or via telephone) from the Better Futures provider.
When the young person is in care and still some time away from transitioning to independence, it is likely that the primary role of Better Futures will be to provide secondary consultation to case managers and care teams.
The Better Futures worker does not assume lead responsibility for case work support while the young person is subject to a statutory order. Support from the Better Futures worker will gradually increase as the young person prepares to transition from care, usually from about six months prior.
In limited circumstances, the Better Futures worker will provide direct support to a young person in care. This is likely to be in relation to support to engage/re-engage with education, training and/or employment, or to support community connections where assessment shows that a young person is at risk of social isolation upon leaving care.
The Key Worker can remain involved with a young person up until their 21st birthday. The Key Worker can provide the young person with:
- direct case work support;
- information and advice; and,
- access to flexible funding.
The young person is provided with a level of support commensurate with their needs, circumstances, existing support systems and/or the capacity of the Better Futures provider to meet demand. Young people may receive high, medium, or low levels of support, or be placed on active hold.
The IMVC works in a consortium with Westgate Community Initiatives Group Inc. and Djerriwarrh Community & Education Services to deliver Better Futures to Melbourne’s Western region.
For more information about Better Futures, please call 9686 2354.