Home Stretch provides young people with support to transition to adulthood and a place to call home until 21 years of age.
Every young person leaving care deserves to have the best start to their adult life, and it is important we arm them with the tools they need to live on their own two feet.
Home Stretch is a ground-breaking initiative that helps every Victorian young person in care with support to transition to adulthood and a place to call home until their 21st birthday.
The program provides an accommodation allowance, case work support and flexible funding to facilitate the young person’s access to education, employment and health and wellbeing supports.
The accommodation allowance supports young people and carers to continue kinship care, foster care and permanent care living arrangements, or helps young people transition to other housing options (for example, private rental).
Better Futures and Home Stretch are backed by investment of $75 million over four years and ongoing funding in the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget and $38.9 million over four years and $13.8 million ongoing funding in the 2021-22 budget.
Home Stretch is being delivered under the Better Futures model. For more information see Better Futures.
Home Stretch is available to:
- Young people on a family reunification order, a care by secretary order or a long-term care order leaving care services from 16 years of age.
- Young people subject to permanent care orders and residing with their carers immediately prior to their 18th birthday.
In the instance of young people on a family reunification order, a care by secretary order or a long-term care order, Home Stretch arrangements start after a young person’s child protection order expires.
A referral to Home Stretch will form part of care team discussions when a young person turns 15 years and 9 months of age.
Young people will be referred to Home Stretch by their Case Manager (DFFH Child Protection, contracted or ACAC) and a Better Futures worker. A young person (and carer where relevant) must consent to the referral.
If you are on a permanent care order, Permanent Care and Adoptive Families or Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency can refer you to Better Futures and Home Stretch.
For more information for young people on a permanent care order and their carers refer to the Home stretch webpage on our Services website.
Better Futures workers will support young people to prepare for their transition to adulthood, with each young person's goals based on their individual needs, aspirations and talents.
Child Protection retains statutory case management responsibility whilst a young person is on a Child Protection order.
Once Child Protection involvement ceases for the final time, the Better Futures worker will become the key point of contact for them.
For young people in home based care, or permanent care, a care allowance will be paid to carers through the existing Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Allowance payment system.
For young people transitioning to independent living the Better Futures worker will broker the Home Stretch accommodation allowance to support them to access independent or semi-independent community-based housing options, including through the private rental market.
Flexible funding (brokerage)
Flexible funding is available to facilitate the young person's goals for independence including to support access to education, employment and health and wellbeing supports.
These funds do not replace other discretionary funding, such as the Commonwealth Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA). Melbourne City Mission administers the TILA program in Victoria.
To facilitate the implementation and operations of Home Stretch, practice advice have been developed:
- Home Stretch eligibility, application and approval - practice advice (Word)
- Home Stretch allowance (Independent Accommodation) - practice advice (Word)
- Home Stretch allowance (Home Based Care) - practice advice (Word)
- Home Stretch Permanent Care practice advice (Word)
- Home Stretch change in circumstances (post care) practice advice (Word)
- Home Stretch change request form user guide (Word)
- Home Stretch - application form
- Home Stretch independent accommodation proposal
- Home Stretch change request form (Word)
Please note as 1 July 2021, Better Futures is available to young people subject to permanent care orders from 15 years and 9 months. Home Stretch is available to young people subject to permanent care from 18 years of age.
For more information, see
- Home Stretch factsheet (word)
- Home Stretch questions and answers for carers (word)
- Home Stretch on our Services website.
Please note as 1 July 2021, Better Futures is available to young people subject to permanent care orders from 15 years and 9 months. Home Stretch is available to young people subject to permanent care orders from 18 years of age.