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How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Report and Flowers in Our Garden DVD Luisa Pisano and Halime Aldemir North West Regional Childrens Resource.

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Presentation on theme: "How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Report and Flowers in Our Garden DVD Luisa Pisano and Halime Aldemir North West Regional Childrens Resource."— Presentation transcript:

1 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Report and Flowers in Our Garden DVD Luisa Pisano and Halime Aldemir North West Regional Childrens Resource Program

2 Childrens Resource Program Funded by DHS to assist, support, and resource homelessness assistance and other non- government services to respond more effectively to the needs of children who have experienced homelessness and/or family violence Each DHS region has a CRP CRP models developed to regional specific needs

3 Childrens Resource Program Cross sector work Pamphlets and booklets DVD – Flowers in our Garden Statewide Wellbeing Proforma Collaborative Projects Submissions and published articles Conference Facilitation Advocating for children in homelessness Advocate for children's rights Through a child's eyes forum Manage website

4 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education 40 children who accompanied their parents through MOSSs case management programs interviewed during November and December of 2010 Surveys focused on the childrens educational experiences and the impact homelessness had on school attendance, academic achievement and connections to school and recreational opportunities Through case management services and support provided to homeless families, there is a common theme of children being well behind their peers. Many had missed months of school and found it difficult to get additional educational support The purpose of this report was to dig a little deeper than previous research and focus on childrens own perception of their education experience

5 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Aims of Research Determine the impact homelessness has on childrens education Assess whether current housing and education policy is addressing these issues Recommend strategies for improving outcomes for childrens education

6 How high Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Methodology A survey was developed covering key areas and indicators of educational engagement and achievement. Support programs within MOSS were engaged around the purpose of the research and the importance of referring willing families to participate. The interviews all took place in the family homes with children and parents present. Where possible families were able to show copies of most recent school reports and any other information relevant to their education. Families received Coles vouchers for each child who participated in the survey MOSS support programs received feedback regarding interviews and secondary consultation around assisting the families further with educational support.

7 How high Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Participants MOSS has eight support programs that all aim to support individuals and families through homelessness, our programs support people from crisis through to long-term housing The families who were invited to participate in our surveys were referred from Crisis Response Program/ICMI (Intensive Case Management Initiative) and our Hume Transitional Support Teams 1 and 2 All the families that were interviewed had experienced significant periods of homelessness occurring over many years Families were not in crisis at the time of the data collection and all had their accommodation secured even if temporary Many of the families came from large family groupings with up to seven children Of the 40 children surveyed they came from 12 families.

8 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings Cultural Background 60% identified themselves as from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Countries of origin consisted of Lebanon, Turkey, Sudan, Jordan, and Kuwait. These children all spoke more than one language and English was their second language. 25% of the children surveyed identified as Aboriginal and 15% identified as Anglo Australian.

9 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings continued … Accommodation 70% of families were residing in transitional accommodation whilst waiting for Office of Housing accommodation. Disability 7% of children identified as having an intellectual disability. These children had been tested by an educational psychologist.

10 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings continued … Health 5% of children reported having significant health issues; these were identified as asthma and cardiac problems. Families reported respiratory complaints as the most common health issue. Health issues that were neglected tended to be those that couldnt be treated at the local G.P, such as dental, skin conditions, hearing and sight problems, as these were costly and waiting lists were long. Family Violence Of the children surveyed, 80% had experienced family violence. It was reported that family violence had directly caused and contributed to ongoing homelessness and transience. These children experienced ongoing emotional difficulties, mainly separation anxiety, which impacted on their ability to attend school and keep up with their school work.

11 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings continued … School Enrolment 83% of children were enrolled in school. The 3% of children not enrolled were Aboriginal children and had not attended school during % were enrolled in child care and 12% were enrolled in kindergarten. Multiple school attendance An alarming 59% of children attended more than three schools. 15% of children attended six schools which equates to a change of more than one school per year.

12 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings continued … Non- attendance at school 62% of children surveyed had missed more than half a term of school on at least one occasion. It was reported that significant length of absenteeism was due to not being able to transport children, issues related to family violence, and childrens separation anxiety and fears of starting new schools. If families had to move into a new area and change schools it was common for children to not want to attend another new school.

13 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings continued … Level of educational achievement Of the children surveyed, 60% were not at the expected level of achievement for their age. Of these children 28% were two or more years behind, 4% were 18 months behind, 32% were 12 months behind and 36% were six months behind. These children had experienced extended periods of homelessness, with many years of transience and housing instability and found it more difficult to engage and go to school on a regular basis. Parents whose own experience of school and education that had been incomplete, negative or lacking, often had fear associated around schools, and discussed finding engaging with the education system overwhelming and intimidating. Children who have had to move out of their area and experienced significant trauma also tended to have issues engaging with school usually because they were struggling to manage emotionally.

14 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings continued … Level of educational achievement continued … The 40% who did well at school were children who had less housing moves, i.e. on becoming homeless, accessed crisis or transitional accommodation fairly quickly, and were able to avoid much school disruption, these children tended to do better at school. Some parents who despite homelessness, were able to ensure that minimal disruption to their childrens education occurred. These parents were engaged in their childrens education and homework and understood that it was essential to give their children an education to break the poverty cycle.

15 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Findings continued … Assessment and Support of learning difficulties 71% of the students identified as being significantly behind in their work had not been formally assessed. The remaining 29% of children who had been assessed generally had Individual Learning Plans in place to assist with learning difficulties. All Aboriginal children are required to have Koorie Education Learning Plans (KELP) which is a learning agreement between the families; school and department of Education, none of the Aboriginal children surveyed had KELPs in place. Financial Costs of Education Many families reported that they struggled to meet the costs involved with their children accessing and engaging with education. 95% of families reported not being able to meet the educational costs.

16 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Recommendations: For SHS and family violence workers: As part of the childrens case plans develop educational plans which are goal focused and have regular review dates and include supporting and assisting the families to develop better relationships with their school communities and teachers. If children are behind, ensure the school has an adequate Individual Learning plan in place and advocate that the school puts in additional support, often discretionary funding is available that can be utilized for children who are falling behind. Develop relationships with key staff of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, discuss with them the impacts of homelessness and your role and explore what support is available. Find out what homework clubs and tutoring support is available and resource brokerage options. Encourage and support children to become involved in sport and recreational opportunities that are sustainable. Assist families to get computer and internet access at home if possible, use brokerage to fund this.

17 How High Can We Go: Homeless Childrens Education Recommendations continued … For Schools: Ensure accountability mechanisms are in place for children who are disadvantaged, to ensure that they do not fall between the gaps and become disengaged from education, this includes early identification of difficulties and planning with families to improve educational disadvantage Develop educational responsibilities for children with difficult/disruptive behavior, to reduce expulsion and suspension rates. Children should not miss out on education due to behavioural issues. Improve access to free or low cost recreation opportunities for children (i.e. excursions, camps, lap top programs, etc.) For Housing providers, Policy and Government: No moves and no evictions housing policy – keep children in their communities and in schools

18 Flowers in Our Garden DVD Following the results of the research NWRCRP sought funding to produce a DVD in partnership with YouthWorx to explore childrens experience of homelessness. Funding was provided by Ian Potter Foundation, Office Of the Child Safety Commissioner and MOSS. The children each made their own individual film as well as the production of flowers in our garden

19 Flowers in Our Garden DVD

20 Thank You Luisa and Halime


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