Children In Care Struggling At School And In Need Of Coordinated Response

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30th June 2010, 08:00am - Views: 963





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Further enquiries contact: 

Andrew Yule (Anglicare Victoria) on 0448 380 455 or 9412 6137 or Andrew.yule@anglicarevic.org.au

Cassie Wells (Wesley Mission Victoria) on 0466 205 772 or 9666 1277 or cwells@wesley.org.au

Media Release

Embargoed until 6am Wednesday 30 June

30 June 2010

Children in care struggling at school and in need of

coordinated response 

Children in out-of-home care are changing schools often, repeating grades, dropping out

early and suffering higher rates of mental and physical health conditions which limit their

participation at school a new report from Anglicare Victoria and Wesley Mission Victoria has

found.


The report, Care-system Impacts on Academic Outcomes, is being launched today by Child

Safety Commissioner Mr Bernie Geary OAM and is one of

the most detailed studies

into

education outcomes for children in care undertaken in Australia.


The study included surveys with 199 carers and 21 teachers as well as six detailed case studies

of young people and those who support them.


The findings show that children in care can be categorised into three groups in terms of their

education – ‘damaged’, ‘disengaging’ and ‘doing well’. 


On average, children categorised as damaged were about 12 years old and had been in

care for more than seven years. Almost nine in 10 had a long-term health condition, more than

half had learning difficulties, a third had repeated a grade and one quarter had been

suspended from school.


Anglicare Victoria

CEO Dr Ray Cleary said the report made it clear ‘damaged’ children

needed significant support to get them back on track.


“Children in the ‘damaged’ group have often suffered

significant trauma and require

therapeutic care,

flexible learning options and better connections between schools, carers

and mental health professionals to keep them in education and provide a brighter future,”

said Dr Cleary.


Mr Poul Bottern, CEO of Wesley Mission Victoria, said both Wesley and Anglicare Victoria were

committed to improving outcomes for children and young people in care. 


“All children deserve the opportunities that education provides.  The report highlights that

children in out-of-home care often need targeted, intensive support to meet their particular

needs.  As a community we need to take responsibility for and invest in the

future of these

valuable children.” said Mr Bottern.


Anglicare Victoria and Wesley Mission Victoria are

calling on the Brumby Government to

develop a fully resourced ‘education first approach’ to prioritise education needs and meet

the aspirations of children in care. Other recommendations include the expansion of

therapeutic care placements, increased alternative education programs and improved

integration across the out-of-home care, education and mental health

systems to support

children and young people in care.

-ends-






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