Objective. The aim of this paper is to examine the progress and effect of the current 5-year $244 million national Young People in Residential Aged Care program on the reduction of young people in aged care. Method. Semi-structured telephone interviews with 20 service providers, 10 advocacy organisations and 6 public servants across Australia actively involved in the implementation of the program. Results. The development of new accommodation options has been slow. The 5-year program aims to move 689 young people out of nursing homes; in the first 4 years of the initiative only 139 people had moved out. The lives of those who have been helped by the program have been enormously improved. Conclusions. This study highlights the challenges of achieving a long-term reduction in the number of young people in residential aged care, including the challenge of achieving systemic change to prevent new admissions. Implications. The accommodation options currently being developed for this target group will soon be at capacity. Without sustained investment in developing alternative accommodation options and resources to implement systemic change ~250 people under 50 are likely to continue to be admitted to aged care each year in Australia. What is known about the topic? Prior to the current 5-year, $244 million, national Young People in Residential Aged Care program there were more than 1000 Australians under 50 years of age who lived in aged care facilities. Aged care is not designed or resourced to facilitate the active involvement of young people with high clinical needs in everyday activities or support their continued participation in the life of their community. What does this paper add? In the first 4 years of the national program only 139 people moved out of aged care. The lives of those who have been helped by the program have been enormously improved. The program is unlikely to result in a long-term reduction in the number of young people in aged care. What are the implications for practitioners? Systemic change and sustained investment in accommodation options is required to resolve the issue of young people in aged care.