Young people leaving care need ongoing support in order to achieve their potential.
Aftercare provision includes advice, guidance and practical support. The social worker, aftercare worker, young person, carer and others consider what the young person will need for support and how this will best be met.
This could include:
A key feature of aftercare support is to advocate on behalf of young people to promote their development as a fulfilled adult in their community. The most important requirements for young people leaving care are for secure, suitable accommodation, access to further education, employment or training and supportive relationships.
Section 45 of the Child Care Act 1991 places a duty on Tusla to decide whether each person leaving care has a need for assistance and, if so, to provide services in accordance with the legislation and subject to resources. Young people who have had a care history with Tusla are entitled to an aftercare service based on their assessed needs.
The core eligible age range for aftercare is from 18 years up to 21 years. This can be extended until the completion of a course of education in which a young person is engaged, up to the age of 23 years.
The Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 strengthens the legislative provisions regarding aftercare, imposing a statutory duty on Tusla to prepare an aftercare plan for an eligible child or eligible young person. The aim is to create an explicit, as opposed to implicit, statement of Tusla’s duty to satisfy itself as to the child’s or young person’s need for assistance by preparing a plan that identifies those needs for aftercare supports.
The aftercare provisions of the Act of 2015 impose an obligation on Tusla: