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Teenagers leaving State care now legally entitled to aftercare plan

The scheme, which starts today, will ensure a young person remains supported in the years after they leave the system.

Education and training support will be offered to teenagers leaving care.
Education and training support will be offered to teenagers leaving care.
Image: FILE IMAGE - Shutterstock/ESB Professional

CHILDREN LEAVING STATE care at the age of 18 will be entitled to have their own aftercare plan, under a new measure which kicks in today.

Preparatory work for the aftercare plan is headed up by a social worker, who will work with the young person, their carers and partner agencies as they put the plan together.

According to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the aftercare plans will be specific to the needs of each young person.

Tusla, the child and family agency, has been pushing for the introduction of the measure to ensure young people remain supported between the ages of 18 and 21.

According to Jim Gibson, Tusla’s chief operations officer:

This may be extended if a young adult is in full time education or
accredited training to the age of 23 years. Aftercare services are an adult service but are integral to the provision of alternative care.

The support may include education, financial support, and training.

“I am conscious that the transition to independent adulthood can be challenging for many young people,” children’s minister Katherine Zappone said.

This is particularly true for children and young people in care. Planning a young person’s new independent living needs to begin years prior to leaving care and continue as part of the care planning process.

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