AMP Foundation supports young people leaving foster care
A donation of $450,000 from AMP Foundation has ensured the continual development of Wesley Take Charge of Your Life—a program that helps young people leaving foster care transition into adulthood.
“There are 39,600 Australian children in foster care. As they leave school, often early, they generally also leave their foster parents and make an attempt to live independently as young adults. There is almost no support to help these young people successfully take charge of their own lives as they leave foster care,” said Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Keith Garner.
“Wesley Take Charge of Your Life is about taking the transition to adulthood seriously. We have stopped thinking along the lines of ‘whilst they are in our care’ and moved to ‘do whatever we can so that the clients we are privileged to raise reach their potential’.”
Following the opening of two Wesley Mission renovated buildings in Sydney’s north-west on 27 November, which will provide additional secure accommodation for young people leaving foster care, two days later, Wesley Take Charge of Your Life was relaunched at an official ceremony at the Wesley Centre.
Initially launched as a pilot program in 2015 as part of a joint initiative with the Rotary Club, Wesley Take Charge of Your Life’s focus has been to provide stable accommodation to young people leaving care. The donation from AMP Foundation will enable young people to be equipped with essential life skills including cooking, shopping, hygiene, budgeting, driving lessons, property management and social skills development.
“You don’t suddenly turn 18 and then think about what you’re going to do. That planning takes a long time. So we’re really trying to work with the case managers to get the kids thinking at a very early age, where is it that you want to go when you do leave care,” said Rita Karraz, Youth Manager Wesley Dalmar.
“The young people we work with, we’re the stop gap. We’re the place they can come back to if they need to. We’re the launch pad that can help them fly.
“Our living care specialist works really closely with our people and the carers to start mapping out the skills that need to be developed and how they’re going to go there… And it’s really exciting to see those dreams and aspirations come true for young people.”
Wesley Take Charge of Your Life also helps young people complete the necessary training they need to secure employment and to reach their career goals.
“Today we can come together and ensure that young people who are living through the care system are given the best chance to move into employment. Really having the job I think is the key to financial security and independence… Employment is a lot more than just a driver of economic wellbeing. It gives us a sense of belonging, identity and purpose. It helps us access opportunities in life,” said AMP Foundation Manager, Helen Liondos.
Rita added: “We get to walk beside them and just help them to achieve their goals and their dreams as they become adults.”