Much has been written about the apparent failure of child protection authorities to rescue children from situations of significant abuse or neglect, or alternatively to protect the rights of children who are living in substitute care. But the real national scandal is arguably the sudden abandonment of young care leavers when their protective court order ceases between the age of 16-18 years.
Young people leaving care experience a number of structural disadvantages as a result of their pre-care and in-care experiences. Many face substantial social exclusion such as lacking access to adequate income and resources, being denied entry into employment or training, and struggling to establish supportive social networks. The state care parent has an obligation to redress these disadvantages by providing care leavers with the same ongoing resources and opportunities that any responsible parent would offer.