Table of contents:
- Opportunities for care leavers
- "Care Leaver Mentoring" project
- "Welcome to Life" project
- Tips for care leavers
- Links for professionals
Video: Care Leaver - From Child And Youth Welfare To Self-employment
Opportunities for care leavers
Health is influenced by many factors. One of them is equity in health. Social contacts, for example, have a significant impact on health. A healthy lifestyle and sufficient financial resources are just as important. Not every child and not every young person is fortunate enough to grow up securely in a family. Sometimes it also happens that you cannot stay in your own family.
Care leavers are young people who have spent part of their life in public education (e.g. in residential groups or foster families) and are in the process of transitioning to an independent life. Since they are released (“to leave”) at the age of 18 from child and youth welfare (“care”), these young people are called “care leavers”.
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- Tips for care leavers
- Links for professionals
In contrast to children who grow up in their families of origin, many of these adolescents and young adults hardly have stable private networks and sufficient material opportunities. Nevertheless, they are mostly expected to live independently when they come of age. New projects and initiatives should facilitate the path to self-employment and contribute to more equal opportunities. In the following example projects are listed as well as information and tips for care leavers and professionals.
"Care Leaver Mentoring" project
The aim of the Care Leaver Mentoring volunteer project is to find mentors for young people who live in socio-educational residential communities for children and young people run by Volkshilfe until they are of legal age. Up to the age of 18 they are accompanied by social educators and find a kind of new family in the shared apartments.
With their 18th birthday these people have grown up and have to leave the flat share. This is what the Children and Youth Act in Austria provides. From this point on they are on their own, at the same time they belong to a social group that particularly needs support in everyday life.
As you know from your own experience, after moving out of your parental home there are questions that you turn to your family about as a young adult. After moving out of the shared apartment, the care leavers lack adult contact persons they can rely on. For this reason, we are looking for volunteer mentors who can make this transition to independence easier for young people. You can find more information on the Volkshilfe website.
"Welcome to Life" project
Four federal states (Carinthia, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna) are involved in the “Welcome to Life” project of the umbrella association of Austrian child and youth welfare institutions. This should make the path to self-employment easier for Care Leavers. Networking opportunities should be initiated at joint meetings, individual support should be offered and workshops should ensure practical knowledge. The way to an independent life should be paved over three modules. During the care provided by the child and youth welfare service, this project teaches what the everyday life of adults entails. After moving out of the auxiliary facility, contact with the care leavers should continue. Depending on the individual need for support and networking opportunities are offered.
Tips for care leavers
Are you a so-called care leaver and want to find out how you could shape your life as an adult? Here are some links to help you do this:
- The website www.careleaver.tirol offers a lot of information (e.g. about looking for a flat, financial matters, work, training, etc.) to help you organize an independent life.
- In the book of the Healthy Austria Fund (FGÖ), “Kuckucksnest”, you can read the life stories of other care leavers and how they have helped transitioning to an independent life. You can also order the book free of charge from the FGÖ at [email protected]
- Brochure “Stand on your own two feet after youth welfare! Tips and tricks for your start into an independent life "from the German Care Leaver Competence Network: Here you will find tips and tricks for the path from youth welfare to an independent life. The brochure comes from Germany and some framework conditions - especially laws and administrative procedures are different in Austria. But there is also general advice that is useful no matter where you live (e.g. about your first apartment, simple cooking recipes, on the subject of finances, etc.). Care leavers who share their experiences also have their say in interviews.
- Would you like to deepen your health knowledge or are you looking for contact persons in the health sector (e.g. doctors, etc.)? Then surf through our health portal
- Are you looking for information on social benefits? You will find it on the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
- Are official channels exhausting? The official oesterreich.gv.at supports you with your concerns. Here you will find information, forms and help with the job search etc.
- You don't yet know what your career path should look like or whether you would like to continue your education? The Chamber of Commerce can help you with this.
Links for professionals
If you work in child and youth welfare, you will find some helpful links on the topic of Care Leaver here.
- Platform "Youth Aid 18+": Platform of the umbrella association of Austrian child and youth welfare institutions (DÖJ) with the aim of improving help for young adults in Austrian child and youth welfare. Two specialist groups were also set up: developing models for helping young adults; Quality standards in Austrian child and youth welfare.
Information material from the Healthy Austria Fund (FGÖ):
- The brochure “Health Promotion in Child and Youth Welfare. How specific projects can be designed”provides targeted information on the fundamentals, goals and project implementation in this area.
- Book "Kuckucksnest": Life stories of care leavers and how they supported transition support.
- The FGÖ regularly offers further training. You can find more information on the FGÖ website.
- Knowledge pool for the FGÖ program line "Growing up healthy - Psychosocial health of children and adolescents"
- Knowledge pool on the main topic of the FGÖ "Health equity".
- Conference proceedings, among other things, on health promotion and youth work
- SOS Children's Villages - Research in the area of Care Leaver