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Prologue Once upon a time there was an allowance for young people leaving care. The Transition to Independent Living Allowance was called TILA for short.

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Presentation on theme: "Prologue Once upon a time there was an allowance for young people leaving care. The Transition to Independent Living Allowance was called TILA for short."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Prologue Once upon a time there was an allowance for young people leaving care. The Transition to Independent Living Allowance was called TILA for short. TILA’s tale is a five-year journey of mystifying and even kafkaesque transformation. Today we are going to tell TILA’s story and review the lessons learnt for policy and advocacy.

3 Transitioning to independence  Becoming an independent young person covers a range of life changes and experiences.  For many of us, it is hard to do: most young people are reliant on parental support  For young people leaving care, it is very hard to do: young care leavers have few family supports  Young people leaving care are reliant on support from their corporate parent – the State and, in turn, Commonwealth Governments.

4 What is TILA? Transition to Independent Living Allowance:  Commonwealth Government payment  Aimed at young people leaving statutory out-of-home care or specialist homelessness services  $1,500 in up to 6 instalments  One of the few cash payments available to young people leaving care.

5 How can TILA be used?  Setting up a house  Getting into education  Further training

6 Govt changes TILA eligibility  In 2009 Federal Government changed TILA’s eligibility  TILA is restricted to young people leaving care up to the age of 22  Previously young people leaving care could access TILA up to the age of 25  OOHC and aftercare services were very concerned about the impact of the changes on young people and lack of consultation with service providers  In June 2010 UnitingCare, along with others, raised these concerns with the Minister for FACSHIA – Jenny Macklin.

7 Govt agrees to review TILA In response to sector concerns:  In July 2010 – the Minister for Youth – Kate Ellis promised a review ‘within 6 months’  In April/May 2011 – (10 months later) an internal review commenced:  Consultants ‘Colmar Brunton’ appointed  They conducted limited consultations with the sector and they said the timeframes were very tight  We assumed the limited consultations were because of the 10-month delay since the review’s announcement.

8 Despite the urgency of the consultations:  In Feb 2012 we formally wrote to Minister Garrett to find out what was happening  In March 2012 the Department promised release of report in the near future  In 2012 and 2013 we continued to follow up  Standard response was ‘Awaiting Ministerial approval’ Govt goes quiet on the review

9 Govt announces TILA changes  In August 2013 – or nearly four years on - and on the eve of the Federal election: Minister Julie Collins announces new arrangements for TILA Despite the many promises and the delays, there was:  No release of the review  No release of a government report on the review  Just final changes to TILA announced!

10 Outcomes of TILA Review  A poor outcome with no net change  Previous changes were reversed but further restrictions were put in place:  To be administered through Centrelink  No access for young people in informal care  To take effect 1 January 2014, nearly five years after the original changes were announced.  Since 1 January 2014, implementation in NSW has also been slow and difficult to track

11 Where is TILA now?  In NSW TILA is again being administered by Southern Youth and Family Services and not Centrelink as the 2013 announcement indicated.  TILA eligibility:  Back up to 25 years of age  Must have been in formal statutory OOHC  TILA application must be supported by a leaving care plan (which creates its own policy challenges here in NSW as many young people do not have a leaving care plan)

12 The policy cycle Adapted from the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) 2008 Agenda Setting Formulation research consultationDecision makingImplementationEvaluation

13 The TILA policy cycle Agenda Setting – reducing eligibility Formulation – limited consultation and research Decision making – slow and sporadic Implementation – not well planned and needed buy-in from States and Territories Evaluation – none planned that we know of

14 Reviewing the TILA review Internal review to target funding by reducing eligibility Few links to larger strategic policy frameworks

15 Lessons learnt - what was needed Better and more strategic advocacy from the sector Increased transparency and accountability from government Ministers to champion TILA and the policy review process An overarching framework or goals to explicitly benefit young people leaving care

16 Reflections on our advocacy Did we get drawn into a review that was not leading anywhere? Could we have directed energy and our scarce resources to better serve young people? Could we have advocated more strategically and effectively? Should we have let the issue of TILA go and, if so, why didn’t we?

17 Future advocacy on TILA? TILA is still sorely inadequate as a policy approach to support young people leaving care so ….  Should we keep advocating for changes to TILA, given the experiences of the last five years?  Should we be more strategic and look at the bigger picture for young people leaving care?  Where is the appetite for change and to improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable young people in Australia?

18 What is the next chapter?  Sadly, the story continues in our policy and advocacy work to improve outcomes for young people leaving care  We wish it could be a ‘short story’ but advocating for change (even mediocre change in the case of TILA) takes time  We know there must be a ‘next chapter’ in advocating to improve outcomes for young people transitioning to independent living but we think our advocacy has to be broader and more strategic  You can find out more about this next chapter at Toni Beauchamp’s workshop on Tuesday in pm.

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