The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.1.S.320 State care (YA)


For the purposes of independent status YA, a young person is in state care if they are NOT living with a parent AND:

  • they are in the guardianship, care or custody of a court, a minister, or a department of either the Australian, state or territory Government
  • there is a current direction from a court, minister or department placing the person in the guardianship, care or custody of someone who is NOT the person's parent, or
  • the person stopped being in one of the situations described above only because of their age.

A young person under a court, ministerial or departmental order or direction is considered to be in state care regardless of their legal guardianship status.

In general, states and territories provide for the upkeep (1.1.U.60) of children in their care until they are 16 years old. State and territory governments retain a welfare responsibility for young people in state care.

Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'parent'

Supported state care

Supported state care means that a person who is receiving benefit/s, be it by direct benefit in the form of a payment or in other forms such as food, accommodation, etc. and which is paid for by the state of territory as a contribution for their upkeep, will be paid a lesser payment in recognition of that support. This rate is equivalent to the 'at home rate' of YA.

Unsupported state care

Unsupported state care means that a person who may be defined as in state care but is receiving no benefits (as described above) and must provide for such necessities themselves will receive the higher rate of payment which is equivalent to the 'away from home rate' of YA.

Act reference: SSAct section 1067(1)-'in State care', section 1067A(8) Person in State care, section 1067G-B3 Table BB—Maximum basic rates (people who are independent)

Last reviewed: