Tue_Bayside106_1200_Loch - Association of Children`s

Educational engagement and
outcomes in out-of-home care
A shared responsibility
Kris Arcaro and Argiri Alisandratos
Presentation overview
1. Victorian context - Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children’s
2. Who are Victoria’s vulnerable children?
3. What is Victoria doing to respond to the educational needs of
these children?
4. What are Victoria's future directions?
The Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry
A one year inquiry into Victoria’s vulnerable
children has recently been conducted.
The inquiry focused on exploring the gaps in
Victoria’s service system including:
• Prevention and early intervention
• Quality of family services, statutory child protection and
out-of-home care
• The role of the Children’s Court
• Community sector organisation functions, capacity and
• Oversight and transparency
A directions paper was released on May
2012 and the government is working to
progress work against key action areas.
"[The inquiry] is focused not on
the past, but the future. It is
focused not on individual
cases, series as every case it,
but on the system and
especially focused on
PVVIC Chair's opening
What were the findings of the inquiry?
• Around 65 % of families using government-funded parenting services have
4 or more risk factors, including mental illness, family violence, substance
use, being teenage mothers, financial stress, and parental disability.
• The rate of reporting to statutory child protection services, almost one in
four children born in 2011 will be the subject of at least one report before
they turn 18.
• Risk factors associated with child abuse and neglect are concentrated in
certain areas of Victoria (correlation with social and economic
• The total estimated lifetime financial costs of child abuse and neglect for
all abused and neglected children that occurred in Victoria for the first time
in 2009-10 is between $1.6 and $1.9 billion.
• The unacceptable and growing over-representation of Aboriginal
children in the number of Victorian children who are the subject of reports,
substantiations, child protection orders and out-of-home care placements.
What were key challenges identified?
• Need for a broader and more integrated service system for
vulnerable families and children;
• Need for improved and consistent practice quality;
• Importance of contemporary and appropriate legal processes;
• Need for an enhanced out-of-home care system;
• Need to address over-representation of Aboriginal children
• Need to address major data and research deficiencies on key
dimensions and impacts of Victoria’s services for vulnerable children
and families.
From the inquiry Victoria has five action areas
In an average school of 1000 P-12 students…
410 will have a chronic illness (asthma, allergy)
230 will be overweight or obese
150 will experience a mental health diagnosis
150 will have a specific learning disability
150 will experience difficulty reading
100 will be admitted to hospital in any given year
90 will exhibit behavioural problems
83 will have some form of disability, 43 severe
6 or more will have autism spectrum disorder
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2009
Who are Victoria’s most vulnerable children?
Children living in families
with unhealthy family functioning*
approx.115,000 in 2010
Children in families accessing
DHS family support services
approx. 63,000 in 2010-11
Children reported
to child protection
approx. 41,500 in 2010-11
Children in OOHC
approx. 5,700 at any one time
(3,067 newly admitted in 2010-11)
Sources: State of Victoria’s Children 2010 (DEECD) and
Child Protection Australia 2010-11 (AIHW)
How many children and young people in Victoria are in
4430 school aged
children and young
people in OOHC
5678 children and young
people in OOHC 0- 17
What type of care are they in?
Is the population of vulnerable children growing?
• In 2003, research found that one in
five children born that year would
be subject of a report at some
stage in their lives
• By 2011, this number had
increased to one in four
• Real expenditure on provision of
out of home care, child protection
and intensive family support
services has increased over time
Monitoring Outcomes for our children and young people
In Victoria we draw our knowledge of how young people are faring
School data•Academic achievement
•Student exit destinations
DHS data•Annual snapshot data compiled by DHS in conjunction with DEECD
Partnering Agreement Contact Officers
What does our data show - school enrolments as at March 2011
• 89.8% enrolled in formal education
• Enrolments marginally higher in rural Victoria (87.8 %), with 85.5%
• Enrolment higher for primary school-age children (94.3 %), reaching
almost 100 % for 9 year olds.
• Levels of enrolment lower for secondary age students (77.3 %).
• Majority enrolled in government schools (83.9 %), with just over 10 % in
non-government schools.
• 5.5 % were enrolled in other school settings (i.e. post-secondary
settings or education programs provided by non-government
What does our data show - school attendance as at March 2011
• Of school-enrolled children (77.9 %) were reported to be attending
school full-time.
• Rates of part-time attendance ranged from 5.9 % of children in standard
primary/secondary schools to 51.1 % of children in alternative school
settings and 47.9 % of those accessing education via post-secondary
• A history of having been suspended was reported for 10.3 % while
expulsion was reported for 1.0 %
• Absentee rates for OOHC children in government schools declined from
36 days absent in 2003 to 20.05 days in 2010
What does our data show us as at March 2011
• 86.7% of schools were notified that student was in OOHC
• 69% of OOHC students had a Student Support Group
• 62% had an Individual Education Plan
• DEECD and DHS Partnering Agreement officers in each region
• 42.3% of schools had only one student in OOHC attending and a
further 21.2% had two students
What are the educational issues for young people in OOHC?
What are we currently doing in Victoria?
Victoria’s response to improving outcomes for children and young
people in OOHC is based on a shared commitment and strong
There are a range of specific initiatives including
• Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment (inc. Education
Support Guarantee)
• Springboard program
• Wannik Education Strategy
• Zero-fee training places
The Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment
(the Partnering Agreement)
A shared responsibility between DEECD, DHS, Catholic Education
Commission Victoria and Independent Schools Victoria
Common language
Shared objectives
processes across
the sectors
Establishes the framework to improve the educational engagement
and achievement of this vulnerable group
The Key Ingredient: Effective Partnerships
The Education Support Guarantee for a child or young
person in out-of-home care
Learning mentor for each child or young person in a school in OOHC
Educational Need Assessment for each child or young person in a
school for three mons or longer
Prioritisation of referrals to educational related health and Wellbeing
Priority status for post round applications to the Program for Students
with a Disability
Personalising learning and support
• We know that tailoring learning to an individuals needs is critical to
maintaining student engagement and to achievement
• The strategies within the Partnering Agreement are all designed to
ensure that:
– there is a strong understanding of a young persons unique
needs and aspirations
– support and learning programs are tailored around this
A Learning Mentor
• A learning mentor will be allocated to each child or young person
in out-of-home care enrolled in a school
• Schools will identify a teacher or staff member who has a positive
relationship with the child or young person to act as a learning
• Learning mentors are being provided with training which focuses on
impact of trauma and abuse, the learning mentor role
• Based on initiatives in the UK and evidence that positive adult
relationships at school reduce the risks of disengagement
An Educational Needs Assessment
• An educational needs assessment is required for every school
student who has resided in out-of-home care for a period of three
months or longer.
• Government has committed $12.8m over four years for
comprehensive health and education assessments for children and
young people in residential care
• A challenge for Victoria will be how to best respond to the needs
identified. Particularly for the cohort of young people currently
disengaged in education.
Other education system supports – a tiered approach
Individual intervention
for the most vulnerable students
(eg PSD: ~21,000; OOHC: ~5,000 etc)
Program for Student with Disabilities
Re-engagement Learning Options
ID Satellite Units
OOHC Partnering Agreement
Accessible technologies
Anaphylaxis Training
Targeted intervention
for at-risk students
(DDA: 15-20% =
81,000 to 108,000 students)
Universal Prevention
for all students
Student Support Services
Abilities Based Learning and Education Support
Reading difficulties/Dyslexia
Language Support Program
Homelessness Guidelines
Autism Inclusion Programs
GLBTI support
Professional development in special education
Student Engagement Guidelines
Building Safe and Respectful Schools
Health promotion
Drug Education, Sexuality Education
PWOs, SWCs and chaplains
Students can, and do, move between tiers on a regular basis
Access to other specialised resources
Primary School
Secondary School
Primary School Nurses
Secondary School Nurses
Student Support Services
Primary Welfare Officers
Student Welfare Coordinators
School Chaplains
School-appointed wellbeing and engagement staff
Koorie Engagement Support Services
School Focused Youth Service
Youth Connections
Future directions
Key future reforms
Additional funding for Therapeutic Residential Care
Zero-fee training places for young people leaving care
New teacher training to increase capacity of school to support
vulnerable children with challenging behaviours and mental
Development of a 5 year plan for OOHC including a
complementary five year plan for Aboriginal in OOHC
Reforms to Maternal and Child Health, as part of a new
Memorandum of Understanding with the local government
Work to reform the CSO sector to ensure adequate capacity
and quality
Our immediate next steps
• Improve our data collection across sectors
• Embed Partnering Agreement policy and processes – particularly
in Catholic and Independent schools
• More coordinated whole of government focus on improving
outcomes for children and young people in OOHC
• Better connected across the range of diverse initiatives currently in
• Focus on targeted education assessments to inform the
education programs and approaches to working with the child or
young person
For further information:
Kris Arcaro – Director, Student Engagement and Wellbeing - DEECD
[email protected]
Argiri Alisandratos – Assistant Director, Placement and Support, DHS
[email protected]
• Out of Home Care Education Commitment:
• Calmer Classrooms: http://www.berrystreet.org.au/CalmerClassrooms
• Office of the Child Safety Commissioner: http://www.kids.vic.gov.au/
• Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry:
• Springboard Program: http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-serviceproviders/children,-youth-and-families/child-and-youth-placement-andsupport/leaving-care/springboard-intensive-education-and-employment

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