Support for Care Leavers

Federation University is home to an increasing number of Care Leavers. We welcome you, we support you and we want you to succeed. We know that Care Leavers are underrepresented in higher education. We want to help change this. We believe that all of us are missing out on the talent and potential that Care Leavers have to offer.

When we are talking about Care Leavers, we mean people who have spent all or part of their childhoods in the care of people who aren’t their immediate family. This may include with foster carers, with extended family in kinship care or in residential care. There are many terms people use to describe themselves. Whichever term you identify with, we are here to support you.

Care Leavers

Federation University is dedicated to help break down some of the barriers Care Leavers face. Our Equity and Inclusion Officer can provide individual support on request for Care Leaver students. This can include support with

  • enrolment
  • applying for scholarships
  • connecting with our academic preparation and support programs
  • peer mentoring programs
  • referrals to other internal and external support services.

Printable flyer

View our Care Leaver flyer (PDF, 903 KB)

Contact us

Contact us for a chat about your individual circumstances and needs.

Jade McIlfatrick | Equity and Inclusion Officer | Federation University
j.mcilfatrick@federation.edu.au | 03 5327 9795
Mt Helen Campus | Wadawurrung Country

Apply for a program

To explore a program that is right for you and how to apply, follow this step-by-step process. As a Care Leaver, please be aware that you may be eligible for financial assistance. Further information is available in the following sections.

Free TAFE for priority courses will reduce financial barrier for students wanting to train in courses that lead to jobs - in demand from Victorian employers. Free TAFE covers tuition fees for students who are eligible for government-subsidised training. More information and eligibility criteria can be found here.

Financial support

Fed Uni scholarships

We currently offer four Foundation scholarships for care leavers. This scholarship is open to all Australian students who have been in out-of-home-care for at least 12 months or more. Visit the care-leaver scholarship page and select the relevant scholarship link to view application dates and the step-by-step process on how to apply.

External financial assistance

Grants

CREATE Foundation provide yearly grants to clubCREATE members with a statutory care experience aged 15 - 25 years through the 'CREATE Your Future Grant Scheme'. These grants are for young people who are leaving out-of-home care to help assist them in their transition into independence.

Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA)

TILA is a one-off payment from the Australian Government to help young people who are leaving out-of-home care, providing a contribution of up to $1,500 towards the costs involved in moving to independent living.

Visit the TILA website

Home Stretch

Home Stretch provides care-experienced young people with support to transition to adulthood and a place to call home until 21 years of age. 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. For further information and a referral to Home Stretch contact:

Jade McIlfatrick, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Federation University 
Email: j.mcilfatrick@federation.edu.au
Phone: 03 5327 9795

Further resources

For further resources, tips and hints, visit our financial information and support page.

Academic support

Academic support

Need some help with writing your essay? Not quite sure how to go about preparing for your exams? Federation University offers a range of support services to assist with the various aspects of learning and study. You can even request feedback on your assignment draft through the online tutoring service - 'Studiosity'.

Visit the Learning and Study information to view all academic services on offer.

Online peer mentoring support

Do you have experience of the out-of-home care system?

Be part of a supportive network of peers to help you succeed and connect in your first few months of TAFE or university study.

The Game Changers Peer Mentoring Project pairs TAFE and university students who are Care Leavers, with a Care Leaver experienced student mentor. Fortnightly online sessions include time to connect with other Care Leaver students, as well as a chance to chat with an experienced mentor about the challenges of studying at TAFE or university, and ways to work through them.

For more information, email Ursula, Project Officer - Raising Expectations ursula.cliff@cfecfw.asn.au

Counselling and health services

FedUni Counselling

FedUni offers general counselling and other health services including medical appointments. Further information can be found on the current students page.

External Counselling Services

Headspace

Headspace support young people (aged 12-25) with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and other drug services, as well as work and study support. With a focus on early intervention, we work with young people to provide support at a crucial time in their lives – to help get them back on track and strengthen their ability to manage their mental health in the future.

Visit the Headspace website to search for a centre near you.

Head to Health

Head to Health supports Victorians of all ages. When a person calls Head to Health on 1800 595 212, an experienced mental health professional will listen and work with them to find the best ways to get the help they need.

Depending on a person’s needs, they may:

  • be connected with suitable existing services
  • receive care at a Head to Health hub, either onsite or through telehealth
  • be connected to specialist or acute mental health services, including into emergency care.

For more information about Head to Health services, see how they can help.

Ballarat Mental Health Support

Helping you find mental health and suicide prevention services in the Ballarat region. The Ballarat Mental Health Support website helps you find the right services for mental health and social emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention and support after a suicide for either yourself, someone you care for or someone you provide care to.

External support for Care Leavers

Below are some useful links to resources that offer support to students from out-of-home-care.

Raising Expectations

Raising Expectations supports young people in out-of-home care and Care Leavers to aspire to, access, and succeed in vocational and higher education. Raising Expectations is a State Government funded project that aims to increase the number of young people in out of home care and Care Leavers participating in higher education and vocational education and training programs across Victoria. At Federation University we’re part of the ‘Raising Expectations’ network. That is, we want to be part of a new way of looking at education for young people in care, and who used to be in care.

Follow the link and subscribe to the newsletter Raising Expectations website.

Leaving Care Hotline

Ph: 1300 532 846

  • 10 am - 8 pm weekdays
  • 10 am - 6 pm weekends and public holidays

Alternatively, email inquiries can be sent to leavingcare@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Visit the Leaving Care website

Youth Central

Youth Central is the Victorian Government's website for young people aged 12-25, filled with great information and articles about your rights at work, school, managing your money, getting your drivers license and so on.

Vist the Youth Central website

Child and Family Services Ballarat (CAFS)

CAFS offer a Leaving Care Program, which aims to assess a young person’s needs and develop a strategy and plan with the young person to attain their short and long term goals. A key focus of Leaving Care is assisting the young person to gain independent living skills.

Visit the CAFS website

Stories from Care Leavers

Advice from Care Leavers who have accessed higher education on how to overcome barriers and access supports.

Read stories here from young people with an out-of-home care experience and Care Leavers whose lives have been changed after accessing TAFE or uni.

Contact us

For all enquiries or to access support, please contact:
Jade McIlfatrick | Equity and Inclusion Officer
03 5327 9795 | j.mcilfatrick@federation.edu.au

Raising Expectations Program

Raising Expectations supports young people in out-of-home care and care leavers to aspire to, access, and succeed in vocational
and higher education. Raising Expectations is a State Government funded project that aims to increase the number of young people in out of home care and care leavers participating in higher education and vocational education and training programs across Victoria. At Federation University we’re part of the ‘Raising Expectations’ network. That is, we want to be part of a new way of looking at education for young people in care, and who used to be in care.

Follow the link and subscribe to the newsletter Raising Expectations website.