$3 million education boost gives vulnerable children brighter future
Published Sunday, 22 January, 2017 at 08:38 AM
Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
The Queensland Government today announced new measures aimed at ensuring children in care have the same educational opportunities as their peers.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said $3 million would be invested to ensure children in care were supported in early education.
“These reforms will help provide children in care with the best possible start to their early years education,” she said.
The Early Childhood Education in Care package includes:
- $500,000 to support more than 400 children in care to attend kindy by helping cover out-of-pocket kindy costs for foster and kinship carers for four and five-year-olds
- Giving foster parents the power to take children for their vaccinations, ensuring they are ready to enter kindy
- $1.5 million over three years to get more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 1-4 years into quality early childhood education and care, starting 1 March 2017
- $1 million in partnership with the Department of Education and Training to fund eight student protection officers in schools for another 12 months
- Trauma training for school principals and teaching staff.
Ms Fentiman said participation in kindergarten was crucial in providing children a flying start to their education.
“That’s why I have established this new kindy-costs-gap initiative that will help more than 400 young children in care, to start from 1 March 2017,” she said.
“Children who have access to quality early childhood education and care have better health, education and employment outcomes, and that’s what we want for all Queensland children.”
Education Minister Kate Jones said the package builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to further boost participation in early childhood programs.
“We know children in care can be up to two years behind their peers at school, due to disruptions to their early lives,” she said.
“This new funding will lay a better platform for their future education.”
Ms Fentiman said the $1 million in funding for eight student protection officers would ensure children in care continued to receive the support they needed to progress and stay in school.
“These regionally based advisors have already supported many students to improve their grades,” she said.
“Dedicated resources on the ground to provide ongoing support will go a long way to keep these students engaged in learning and on track to reach their full academic, social and emotional potential.”
The overall new funding of $3 million is in addition to the $7.75 million Child Safety Services provides each year under education plans to support students in care and $500,000 annually to the Pyjama Foundation to read to and tutor children in foster care.
More than 7000 children in out-of-home care are set for school this year, including almost 500 in prep. More than 400 children are set to start kindy this year.
Media Contact: Minister Fentiman’s office 0400 200 641