Extra support for Sunshine Coast students and families - Education Matters Magazine
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Extra support for Sunshine Coast students and families

Young Queenslanders on the Sunshine Coast at risk of disengaging from school will have access to extra support to get their lives on the right track.

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said St Vincent de Paul would head up a new Family Support Service in collaboration with Nambour State College.

“The potential of this award-winning program and the young lives it supports is immense,” Ms Farmer said.

“Funding of $370,000 every year for the next five-years is being invested by the Palaszczuk Government for early intervention with families and at-risk teenagers.

“The Family Support Service is designed to help ease pressure on families and support teens to stay in school and out of the Child Safety and Youth Justice systems.

“St Vincent de Paul has runs on the board and the experience and capacity to get young lives back on track.

“They’ve changed lives with similar services in Queensland and are set to deliver for families on the Sunshine Coast.”

Ms Farmer said the new service would provide integrated support involving every member for the family.

“It’s a holistic approach with intensive case management to get families through the rough patches,” Ms Farmer said.

“This is a worthwhile investment by the Palaszczuk Government in the next generation of Queenslanders.”

St Vincent de Paul Society State Community and Family Services Manager Ray Snell said the award-winning approach was aimed at providing support to both parents and children.

“Some parents may not have had a very good experience with learning themselves, so they may feel challenged or unprepared to support their own children’s learning,” Mr Snell said.

“We are focused on working with children and with their parents on whatever issues that are present which may create challenges for their children’s engagement and success in their schooling.

“The program is designed with input from local community groups, indigenous leaders, police liaison officers, guidance counsellors and other health and child safety experts. It is set up to be responsive to community needs, because each community is different.”

Targeted at 10-to-14-year-olds, Vinnies launched a similar program at Goodna in 2002.

The program won the Australian Government award for response to child abuse and neglect in 2015, plus three National Child Protection Week awards and Mission Australia’s Child-Friendly Excellence award.

A key aspect of the service is a three day a week learning hub and one day a week at Nambour’s Tribalink Activity Centre.

“We are very much a part of the school community but what marks the services is we have such strong collaboration with the local indigenous community, state government and schools. We meet with stakeholders every fortnight and share information and plan supports,” Mr Snell said.

“To receive funding for the rollout of another site at Nambour State College is very exciting because Vinnies believes it has the potential to improve outcomes across Queensland’s local communities.”

“Some families face challenges; St Vincent de Paul puts in place the support to help them build a better future,” Ms Farmer said.

The Family Support Service will work from Nambour State College.

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