Sixteen-year-old Dannelle Mcmurdo and 18-year-old Krystal Sampson-Bungard reside in a supported living home.
Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust supported youth living manager Kerstin Kummerer runs the home, which is a pilot venture between Oranga Tamariki and the trust.
Minister for Children Tracey Martin was in Invercargill on Friday to visit the home, where young people were taught money management, cooking and given direction about tertiary education.
Distinct from traditional foster care, this programme was specifically designed to give young people the tools to sustain independence.
Mcmurdo entered state care at birth. Sampson-Bungard when she was a toddler. Mcmurdo said she was in one foster home for most of her life but said she suffered abuse. She can now call any of the staff of the house when she needs support in any area of her life.
"The staff are like parents. This house is filled with laughter."
In foster care she said it was common for her to leave the house for days at a time and go and get in trouble.
"I would probably be in lock-up [if it wasn't for being in the supported living home]," she said.
Next year she will go Telford to study an equine course.
Previously, youths in foster care were expected to become independent at age 18. Under new provisions, people in state care can now remain in the Oranga Tamariki system until they were 25. That was under new provisions announced by the Government in May.
Sampson-Bungard said she was in depressed state when she turned 18 and being on her own could have ended badly. She had been in-and-out of foster homes and lived on the streets at various stages of her life. With the skills she has learnt at her new home, Sampson-Bungard will be studying nursing full time and plans to move out next year.
She said the change in policy allowing those over 18 to stay with a carer had helped her immensely.
"It's good they've changed the rules. A place like this is great because it teaches you things that school doesn't," Sampson-Bungard said.
Minister for Children Tracey Martin said some young people who have been in the care or youth justice system had had a difficult start to life and it was wrong that support for them ended when they turned 18.
"It is time to recognise the special responsibility we have for the young people leaving the state's care," she said.
The Government's 2019 budget designated Oranga Tamariki $153.7 million over four years to assist young people transition from state care into adulthood.
Oranga Tamariki site manager Raewyn Hubbard said the Invercargill house has room for three young people, was aimed at 18 to 21-year-olds and expected to have six to 10 young people live there in the next 18 months.