Plan to extend out-of-home care age to 21 welcomed by foster carers

In a “monumental decision” by both major political parties, Tasmania will become the first state in Australia to extend the out-of-home care age to 21.

The commitment has been welcomed by foster carers and those who have grown up in the system.

At 17, Irish Rai felt pressured to leave out-of-home care. The Devonport teen struggled to get through years 11 and 12 while living independently. She is now 19 and living with her sister’s foster carer, who has “taken her under her wing”.

Ms Rai said if she had been able to stay in the system until the age of 21, she would have.

“I wasn’t prepared at 17 – I didn’t even know how to pay a bill,” she said.

Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma announced the Liberals’ child safety policy on Wednesday in Launceston. The centrepiece of the $16.7 million package was an extension to the out-of-home care system, allowing young adults to remain in care until the age of 21.

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