Once upon a time there was an allowance for
young people leaving care. The Transition to
Independent Living Allowance was called TILA for
short. TILA’s tale is a five-year journey of
mystifying and even kafkaesque transformation.
Today we are going to tell TILA’s story and review
the lessons learnt for policy and advocacy.
Transitioning to independence
 Becoming an independent young person covers a
range of life changes and experiences.
 For many of us, it is hard to do: most young people
are reliant on parental support
 For young people leaving care, it is very hard to do:
young care leavers have few family supports
 Young people leaving care are reliant on support
from their corporate parent – the State and, in turn,
Commonwealth Governments.
What is TILA?
Transition to Independent Living Allowance:
 Commonwealth Government payment
 Aimed at young people leaving statutory
out-of-home care or specialist
homelessness services
 $1,500 in up to 6 instalments
 One of the few cash payments available to
young people leaving care.
How can TILA be used?
 Setting up a house
 Getting into education
 Further training
Govt changes TILA eligibility
 In 2009 Federal Government changed TILA’s eligibility
 TILA is restricted to young people leaving care up to the
age of 22
 Previously young people leaving care could access TILA up
to the age of 25
 OOHC and aftercare services were very concerned about
the impact of the changes on young people and lack of
consultation with service providers
 In June 2010 UnitingCare, along with others, raised these
concerns with the Minister for FACSHIA – Jenny Macklin.
Govt agrees to review TILA
In response to sector concerns:
 In July 2010 – the Minister for Youth – Kate Ellis
promised a review ‘within 6 months’
 In April/May 2011 – (10 months later) an internal
review commenced:
 Consultants ‘Colmar Brunton’ appointed
 They conducted limited consultations with the sector
and they said the timeframes were very tight
 We assumed the limited consultations were because of
the 10-month delay since the review’s announcement.
Govt goes quiet on the review
Despite the urgency of the consultations:
 In Feb 2012 we formally wrote to Minister Garrett to
find out what was happening
 In March 2012 the Department promised release of
report in the near future
 In 2012 and 2013 we continued to follow up
 Standard response was ‘Awaiting Ministerial
Govt announces TILA changes
 In August 2013 – or nearly four years on - and on the
eve of the Federal election: Minister Julie Collins
announces new arrangements for TILA
Despite the many promises and the delays, there was:
 No release of the review
 No release of a government report on the review
 Just final changes to TILA announced!
Outcomes of TILA Review
 A poor outcome with no net change
 Previous changes were reversed but further
restrictions were put in place:
 To be administered through Centrelink
 No access for young people in informal care
 To take effect 1 January 2014, nearly five years after the
original changes were announced.
 Since 1 January 2014, implementation in NSW has
also been slow and difficult to track
Where is TILA now?
 In NSW TILA is again being administered by Southern
Youth and Family Services and not Centrelink as the
2013 announcement indicated.
 TILA eligibility:
 Back up to 25 years of age
 Must have been in formal statutory OOHC
 TILA application must be supported by a leaving care
plan (which creates its own policy challenges here in
NSW as many young people do not have a leaving care
The policy cycle
Adapted from the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) 2008
Agenda Setting
research consultation
Decision making
The TILA policy cycle
Agenda Setting –
reducing eligibility
Evaluation – none
planned that we know
Implementation – not
well planned and
needed buy-in from
States and Territories
Formulation – limited
consultation and
Decision making – slow
and sporadic
Reviewing the TILA review
Internal review
to target funding
by reducing
Few links to
larger strategic
Lessons learnt - what was needed
An overarching framework or goals to explicitly benefit young
people leaving care
Ministers to champion TILA and the policy review process
Increased transparency and accountability from government
Better and more strategic advocacy from the sector
Reflections on our advocacy
Could we have directed
energy and our scarce
resources to better
serve young people?
Did we get drawn into a
review that was not
leading anywhere?
Could we have
advocated more
strategically and
Should we have let the
issue of TILA go and, if
so, why didn’t we?
Future advocacy on TILA?
TILA is still sorely inadequate as a policy approach to
support young people leaving care so ….
 Should we keep advocating for changes to TILA,
given the experiences of the last five years?
 Should we be more strategic and look at the bigger
picture for young people leaving care?
 Where is the appetite for change and to improve
outcomes for some of our most vulnerable young
people in Australia?
What is the next chapter?
 Sadly, the story continues in our policy and advocacy
work to improve outcomes for young people leaving care
 We wish it could be a ‘short story’ but advocating for
change (even mediocre change in the case of TILA) takes
 We know there must be a ‘next chapter’ in advocating to
improve outcomes for young people transitioning to
independent living but we think our advocacy has to be
broader and more strategic
 You can find out more about this next chapter at Toni
Beauchamp’s workshop on Tuesday in 12.00-12.30pm.