Engagement with schools can offer children in care opportunities for socialisation, a chance to achieve and the basis for success in further study and employment. Commissioner Nyland’s October 2016 report recommended widespread changes to the way education was managed in the interest of children in care and the Government’s response in December 2016 accepted most of those recommendations.
The Government undertook to:
- Mandate Strategies for Managing Abuse Related Trauma (SMART) training for educational staff, requiring it to be part of professional development (R 89).
- Review the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) policies on school suspension, exclusion and expulsion and ensure that they are only used as a last resort (R 91).
- Conduct a regular audit of children in care who are on reduced hours of attendance at school and ensure they have plans to re-engage in mainstream education (R 91).
- Require the DECD to fund any in-school support needed by children in care (R 92).
- Recruit and train a panel of school services officers to support children with trauma-related behavioural challenges (R 93).
- Make modified payments to foster and kinship carers where the care leaver is engaged in tertiary education, apprenticeship, or post-high school training and their best interest is served by remaining in foster or kinship care until the qualification is completed (R 161).
- Change policy and practice to support care leavers who want to access further education and training (R 163).
- Establish a data system to allow access to a complete range of student data about children who move schools in remote Aboriginal communities (R 210).
- Audit services in remote Aboriginal communities to ensure that there are adequate facilities to service playgroups, preschools and other services that visit the community (R 213).
- Employ qualified child wellbeing practitioners in areas of need to consult with staff and to work directly with vulnerable families (R 52).
- Provide secure, long-term funding for playgroups in remote Aboriginal communities, (R 209).
If you have an interest in education for children and young people in state care, watch out next week for our analysis of education data for South Australia from the Report on most recent Government Services.