Aftercare plan for over-18s in Bill
Bill is to help people move on to independent living as their care period ends
Frances Fitzgerald: “It is crucial that an aftercare plan is prepared to identify the supports that young people need as they transition to adulthood.”
The Government has settled on the scope of draft laws that will compel public authorities to prepare a formal “aftercare” plan for young adults who leave statutory care at 18.
The objective of the Aftercare Bill, the heads of which were brought to Cabinet yesterday by Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald, is to help people move on to independent living as their care period ends. At the end of 2013, 1,093 children were receiving aftercare services. “It is crucial that an aftercare plan is prepared to identify the supports that young people need as they transition to adulthood,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
Focus Ireland, the charity that works to prevent homelessness, welcomed the move and said it was crucial that staff and resources were put in place to ensure the support required was in place for each individual. It was crucial to ensure that young people who needed such help “don’t fall through the gaps” when they leave care, it added.
The heads of the Bill, which will be referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children, place a duty in statute on the Child and Family Agency to prepare an aftercare plan for each eligible person.
There would be an explicit statement of the agency’s duty to prepare a plan setting out the specific requirements for aftercare support.