Your rights give you power. If you know what they are, you can use them to be in control of your own life, and plan for the future you want.
By now you should be familiar with the Charter of Rights. This website gives you even more information about what you have the right to ask for and make happen in your life, before and after you transition from out- of- home care (OOHC).
Think of your future plan as a blank canvas. A fresh start. Right now it has nothing on it, but for every right you take action on now, you add another brush stroke, making the picture more complete.
By standing up for everything you have a right to – things like contact with your siblings, applying for a TAFE course, being healthy or speaking up when you don’t feel you’re being heard – you are adding brush stokes to your painting. Take advantage of everything on offer, and you’ll end up with a complete work of art that is rich in every area of your life, not just one or two.
Your rights belong to you, and they will always be there for you.
Now it’s up to you to use them.
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
This website is for 15-25 year olds who are currently or have been in OOHC. This website is about encouraging young people to plan for their future, to know their rights and what to ask for to support them to make informed decisions for their future.
When we use the word ‘carers’ in this website we are taking about the people working with and caring for children and young people in OOHC. This can include foster, kinship, respite, and paid care staff.
When we use the word ‘parents’ we mean your biological Mum or Dad, though we understand that you may call your carer Mum or Dad.
A lot of the information provided talks about young people who are/or have been in Statutory OOHC.
This website was reviewed by the 2016-2017 Youth Representatives from the DCJ Youth Consult for Change group: The Youth Representatives added quotes, and their suggestions were incorporated in the final edition as it is important that this website is guided by young people as it is for young people.
"As indigenous young people in out-of-home care, it is important to acknowledge our culture and its history. Don’t ever think you can’t be you. Never change who you are, and be true to your beliefs whether it’s your culture, totem, or language. As young people we get our stories and lessons from our elders. We would like to acknowledge our elders and thank them for passing on their knowledge" Youth Representatives.*
|NSW||New South Wales|
|OOHC||Out-of-home care (The care of a child or young person who is in the parental responsibility of the Minister, or a non related person, residing at a place other than their usual home, and by a person other than their parent, as a result of a Children's Court order that lasts for more than 14 days, or because they are a protected person)|
|DCJ||Department of Communities and Justice. DCJ works closely with other government departments, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the community to support vulnerable families and keep children and young people safe from abuse and neglect.|
|CSC||Community Services Centre. This is the DCJ office that your caseworker works in.|
|NGO||Non-government organisation. There are over 45 organisations that provide children and young people in OOHC support. An NGO office is where your caseworker works. Some of the NGOs include Allambi, Barnardos, Impact Youth Services, KARI, Lifestyle Solutions, Life Without Barriers. Sometimes a NGO may be referred to as an agency.|
|The Act||Refers to a piece of legislation. This booklet refers to the Children & Young Persons (Care & Protection) Act 1998.|