SAF Care Leaver Information
Stretch-A-Family (SAF) was an out-of-home care not-for profit organisation that served the Sydney Metropolitan Area from 1977-2021. SAF provided a safe home for many children and young people and in May 2021 it ceased providing foster care, residential and aftercare services.
Some key information for ex-clients of SAF including contact details of where to get support:
Even if you have turned 18 and you have now formally left care, you are not on your own. And even though SAF is no longer in operation, Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) or a specialist Aftercare service can assist you for ongoing support and advice.
Aftercare assistance may include:
- Information and advice about other government or non-government agencies which can help with family searching, family mediation and family reunion services
- Help to apply for financial assistance such as Centrelink, Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA), Smart and Skilled fee-free scholarships and Safer Drivers Course to support your driver licence
- Referral for finding accommodation, education or vocational training, counselling, employment, legal advice, health services or professional services
- Accessing any personal effects, clothing, equipment such as car seats, wheelchairs or furniture that may have been purchased specially for you while in care (this may be required if you choose to leave the place you live in)
- Help with viewing your file and accessing personal documentation (for example your birth certificate, school reports, medical reports, personal photographs).
For assistance contact:
- Your local DCJ Office
- DCJ care leaver line 1800 994 686 or CareleaversLine@facs.nsw.gov.au
- In circumstance where you are unable to contact your previous agency, you can contact a Specialist Aftercare Service instead.
Contact details for Specialist Aftercare Services
As SAF is no longer able to provide you support, you can contact a Specialist Aftercare Service for assistance. You may contact any of these services no matter where you are currently living in NSW.
If you are a care leaver and seeking access to your records:
All records regarding former children and young people who were in the care of Stretch-A-Family have been returned to The NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).
DCJ administers access to the surviving records of care leavers.
If you are seeking access to your own records and information, contact details can be found on the Department of Communities and Justice website.
If you are seeking access to records about someone else who was in and out of home care you will need to contact Department of Communities and Justice Right to Information Unit.
History of Stretch-A-Family
Stretch-A-Family, Inc. (SAF) was established in 1977. It grew out of the Young People’s Refuge (YPR), the first youth refuge in Sydney. Workers there began to realise that refuges could not meet the long-term needs of young people for stability and the development of life skills, particularly those under the age of sixteen. In 1984, SAF and the YPR mutually agreed to separate and YPR moved to a separate house.
SAF’s roots lie in the philosophy of offering homeless young people an alternative to institutional care. SAF had a history of working towards legal and social equality for young people and continued to work against all forms of discrimination and persecution against children and young people. Over its 40+ years of operation SAF developed a professional reputation for excellence and was highly regarded in the field of Out-of-Home-Care.
SAF offered Residential Care to teenagers from 1977 to 2020. In July 2020 the Inner West Out-of-Home-Care Residential Care Services delivered by SAF were transferred to The Burdekin Association (TBA). SAF brokered a transition that was in the best interest of the vulnerable young people in their care. TBA is a trusted community-based agency known for providing quality, client focused care.
In May 2021 SAF transitioned its Permanency Support Program (foster care) to Key Assets Australia (KA). SAF worked in partnership with Key Assets in order to create and achieve sustainable outcomes for our carers and the children and young people in their care through this process and to transfer them to an agency with similar values and purpose to SAF. Key Assets is a non-government, not-for-profit community services agency providing services across Australia to children, young people and their families, with a particular focus on foster care, family support and disability.
These two collaborative partnering transfer processes meant that the carers, children and young people supported by SAF continued to be cared for in their homes as per their case plan goals and supported by staff who are familiar to them. This transfer also ensured that vital accommodation and support can continue to be provided for vulnerable young people in the Inner West while TBA & KA were able to step in with to bring their considerable knowledge and experience of service provision to carers, children and young people previously under SAF’s care