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Young people can face legal problems if they leave home. Up to the age of 17 years, the Department of Health and Human Services may seek to intervene if they believe a child is ‘at risk’ of being neglected or their guardians are unable or unwilling to exercise adequate supervision and control. The Department may also intervene for those children that are not attending school regularly. Generally the Department is reluctant to intervene with those aged over the age of 14.

The age of 17 is generally the age at which a person may leave home. Although young people who are approaching that age would not normally be forced to go home against their wishes they can be subject to government intervention. It depends on the facts, especially the attitudes of the parents, the maturity of the young person and other factors, such as satisfactory accommodation and employment, and a style of life that the authorities regard as reasonable.

Some income support is available for 16-20 year olds through a government provided pension known as Youth Allowance. However, to be successful for a Youth Allowance claim, generally the applicant must have either completed their final year of secondary college (eg. year 12), be undertaking full-time study, or have agreed to enter into a Youth Allowance Activity Agreement.

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