Analysis of future service usage of Out-of-Home Care leavers Report

Young people with a history of out-of-home care (OOHC) are believed to have a higher risk of poor social outcomes, including homelessness, interaction with the  justice system, poor health and high levels of welfare receipt.

The Office of Social Impact Investment (OSII) is interested to better understand the lifetime service usage pathways of this cohort and help inform the development of better target prevention and early intervention strategies. To support this initiative, OSII commissioned Taylor Fry to undertake a project to estimate the lifetime cost to government of service usage by young people leaving OOHC.

Research approach

The population cohort included in this project is all people who left OOHC for the last time from 1996/97 to 2013/14 (inclusive) and were aged between 14 and 18 when they left. 

Taylor Fry developed an anonymised linked dataset detailing the cohort’s contact with justice, health, housing, disability, welfare, Medicare and other services – as well as their children’s entry into the then NSW Department of Family and Community Services (now the NSW Department of Communities and Justice) care services.

The long-term costs of service usage were then estimated by:

  • Forecasting the service usage pathways for each individual in the cohort for the 20-year period after exiting care
  • Developing assumptions for the cost of each service using information from the Government agencies that provide the services
  • Summing the costs of service use over a 20-year period for each individual, different segments of the cohort and the cohort as a whole.

The report

Due to staggered approvals for obtaining data, this project has had a series of phases.

The Analysis of future service usage of Out-of-Home Care Leavers Report presents findings to phase 3 of the project, for the following purpose:

  • Quantify the long-term costs to the NSW Government of meeting the service needs of OOHC leavers
  • Quantify the long-term costs to the Commonwealth Government of meeting the service needs of OOHC leavers
  • Identify segments of OOHC leavers that have different expected long-term costs
  • Understand how the lifetime service usage pathways of segments differ.

OSII intends to use the findings from this report to better inform the development of social impact investments aimed at helping vulnerable people. By making this report publicly available, OSII hopes it will assist other policy makers, service providers and interested parties to develop policies and services that will benefit this at-risk group.


The cost estimates provided in this report should be treated as indicative only. Detailed judgements about the methodology, analyses, assumptions and cost estimates presented in this report should be made only after considering the report in its entirety. No reliance should be placed on this report for any purpose other than those outlined above, without first confirming with OSII that such a purpose is appropriate.

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