New state gov program to help kids leaving child protection

FRASER COAST youth leaving the child protection system will receive extra help as part of a new program developed with the help of other young people who were once in their position.

The State Government will provide $940,000 over four years to ensure youths from Mackay to Maryborough have access to 24-hour support for the first time.

Department of Child Safety figures for July 2013 to June 2014 show 195 people in central Queensland, including Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast, left home care.

Those now moving on with their lives will be able to access round-the-clock help from Life Without Barriers.

They will have practical support for issues including accommodation, managing money, education, becoming job ready or concerns with family and friends.

Sharna Norman, 20, who has worked with CREATE Foundation advocating for youths leaving care, said the round-the-clock support would make a real difference.

"This will have a great impact on young people because they won't feel so alone, they will feel like someone's on their side and looking out for them, especially when things go wrong," she said.

"Building trust is important for young people in care because a lot of the time, their trust has been broken by the adults in their lives."

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said improving after-care services for young people leaving the child protection system was an issue recognised in the Carmody Report on Child Protection and deserved bipartisan support.


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