International Forum for Child Welfare WorldForum - October 2011 MacKillop Education - “Flexible Learning Options” Ruth Hamilton - Manager/Principal www.mackillop.org.au Introduction. • MacKillop Family Services is a leading provider of services for children, young people and their families in Melbourne, Geelong, Western Sydney and Wollongong. • Formed in 1997 as a refounding of the earlier works of The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St Joseph and the Christian Brothers. Values. • JUSTICE - every child has a right to a quality education • HOPE - every child has the capacity to learn • COLLABORATION - every child needs the support of professionals and significant others if they are to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to transition to adulthood • COMPASSION - every child deserves to be heard and given a second chance • RESPECT - every child has the right to be heard and supported in their education by highly skilled staff who are committed to their education Research/Benchmarks. • “Students who do not complete Year 12 or its equivalent are more likely to become unemployed, stay unemployed for longer, have lower earnings, and over the course of their lives, accumulate less wealth, a problem that will only increase with time as employers seek a more highly skilled workforce.” • “Children who experience trauma have lower educational outcomes, low attendance at school and lower retention than those not exposed to traumatic situations.” • “difficulties engaging and retaining children and young people in the mainstream school system often results in compounding wide-ranging social issues and self-harming behaviour.” Research/Benchmarks. • “While university enrolments in Australia have more than doubled in the last two decades, students from low SES backgrounds are three times less likely to enter university than those from high SES backgrounds.” • “In Victoria alone there are over 5000 children living in out of home care and over 24000 Australia wide.” MacKillop Education. • • • • • Youth “Edventure” Program A Specialist School EMU program CIRC – Children in Residential Care, Geelong and The West Dad’s and Kids in School (DAKS) • • • • • • The Western Education Centre The Western Education Support Team Northern Education Support team The “Rock Up” Program “Learn Now” Project Melbourne / Moonee Valley School Focused Youth Services Geelong. Three specific programs – disengaged or at risk of disengagement • YEP – Youth “Edventure” Program • Registered Catholic Specialist School 5 - 16yrs, 32 students at any one time, full time program • EMU – short term Process: • Referral • Key teacher – Assessment, Individual Education Plan, Transition Plan, Behaviour Plan, Timetable • Teaching and Learning Plans – reflect developmental stages • Curriculum links Geelong. Key features: • • • • • • • Student support group – planning process, negotiate timetable Flexible Welfare support Key teacher role Relationship development Understanding the student Curriculum links DAKS program. • In the Western suburbs of Melbourne as a result of a survey highlighting the barriers parents/carers felt being involved in their child's education • Homework involvement program was considered but it was not the best way to involve parents SO “Dads And their Kids” was born • Aim to involve parents - particularly fathers and male carers DAKS Feedback. Parent : • Nice to join in without being embarrassed at their perceived lack of academic success • Valued down to earth activities • Enjoying being around their children Student : • Enjoyed having their fathers in the school • Expressed appreciation of the activities and having something to take home • Enjoyed the food School: • Both principals enthusiastic and want to build on the success Children in Residential Care – (CIRC). • development and implementation of Individual Education Plan, in conjunction with other relevant workers • co-ordination, liaison and support necessary for participation in education and training • collate information on barriers to participation in education, obtain further assessment where necessary • purchase services to assist child/young person to achieve potential Challenges. • • • • • • • Transitions back to mainstream Engagement of some young people Complex case management Ability to plan for multiple indicators of success Lack of family support structures to continue the supports implemented at school Access to resources to support the demands of individuals School’s limitations to respond to the needs of this cohort Future Directions. • • • To get better at assessing the more diverse needs Get better at complex case management approaches Greater levels of engagement in learning A Trauma Informed Shared Vision promoting a Collaborative Approach.