Can you imagine turning 18 or even 21 and being asked to leave home with nothing but a good luck wish? No support networks, no financial support — nothing — and being placed in an unfamiliar hotel for 10 days.
To make matters worse, you don’t have enough points of identification to open a bank account, so therefore NO Centrelink payments.
For most people, this scenario is unimaginable. However, this is the reality for many young women leaving Out-of-Home care. Without a stable address or even bank account, they fall through the cracks of many welfare systems including Centrelink, Medicare and the ATO.
Many young women in this position experience an increased risk of homelessness, mental health issues, criminal offences, early parenthood and drug and alcohol problems.
Bridging the Gap is an initiative designed to support young women transitioning from Out-of-Home care to independent living.
Bridge of Hope collaborates with young women and their care teams to develop a support plan. This aims to cover the practical and emotional skills needed for adult life, while also providing them with ongoing post-care support to help their transition to independent living.
The support plan addresses the systemic shortfalls currently experienced in the areas of independent living skills, social and financial resources, preparation for employment, ongoing employment, health and wellbeing.
Leaving Care Program
Our Leaving Care Program ensures young woman have a copy of their birth certificate, a bank account and debit card), an introduction to Centrelink, a free MyKi public transport card and My Gov accounts.
L2P Driving Program
Our L2P Driving Program provides driving lessons to young women to help them obtain a driver’s licence. Having a driver’s licence allows them to become more independent and responsible, and also opens up employment opportunities that were otherwise not accessible.
Mental and General Health Program
Longstanding BoH supporter, Headspace keeps its doors open to young women from Out-of-Home care or those having exited with perceived or actual mental health issues.
Negotiations are afoot with one of Victoria’s major hospitals to provide an all-encompassing general health assessment and advice — and if necessary, facilitate any surgical procedure.
Legal Advice and Representation
In conjunction with the Law Institute of Victoria, a free legal advice service is available to BoH Out-of-Home care women.
Our Careers Program helps prepare young women for employment. This includes developing a professional resume, gaining skills in presenting and interviewing and obtaining clothing and work placements.
Our patrons are key influencers with vast skills, experience and a shared goal to champion the BoH mission. Their passion is to give hope and make a real difference in the lives of the young and the vulnerable.
Dr Julian Burnside AO QC
Barrister, Human Rights and Refugee Advocate, Author
Public Advocate (Vic)
Emeritus Professor, (former principal patron, 2015–2019) stepped down in 2019 to take a position with the United Nations
Our ambassadors are an inspiring group of experts who represent and advocate for the BoH vision. They share their knowledge and expertise to help ‘bridge the gap’ for some of our most vulnerable young people.
Coming from diverse backgrounds, the Bridging the Gap reference group are influential specialists in the fields of academia, welfare, justice and human rights.
Together they are helping us drive the change needed to achieve our vision.
Help us deliver programs to bridge the gap faced by some of Australia's most vulnerable young people.
CONTRIBUTE TO A GREAT CAUSE
Are you a change maker? Are you passionate about helping vulnerable people transform their lives?
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We're always looking to partner with like-minded organisations that are passionate about creating real change.
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