Improving Education For Children In Care

The Andrews Labor Government is moving ahead to ensure more children in out-of-home care get the best out of their early learning.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today announced a $3.4 million expansion of the LOOKOUT program to help children in out-of-home care access quality kinder programs and effectively transition to school.

This will help ensure that some of our most vulnerable children are set up to succeed at school and beyond.

The LOOKOUT program was established in 2016 to improve the educational outcomes for school-aged children in out-of-home care and has made a huge impact in keeping students engaged at school.

From Term 4, which starts today, 13 new early childhood advisers will begin working with local governments, kindergartens and Maternal and Child Health nurses to better support children in out-of-home care before they start school.

They will work with the child protection workforce to enrol children in kinder programs and with kinders and schools to support children transition to school.

A further $570,000 for the Early Start Kindergarten program will provide more children known to Child Protection or from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds access to free kindergarten.

In a further boost to kinder, more than 600 pre-purchased kinder places will be made available at about 200 services next year for families and children known to child protection.

It will also be available to families from refugee and Koorie backgrounds or concession card holders so they can still attend a local service at no cost, even if they miss enrolment dates.

The Labor Government is investing more than $600,000 in 2019 to reserve the kinder places to help families overcome barriers to participating in kinder, such as enrolling late, moving into new areas, or being cared for out of home.

More than $1.7 million in grants will also be provided to 52 local councils to help them introduce or improve central enrolment schemes, making it easier for parents to apply for a local kinder place.

Victorian families are already benefiting from the Labor Government’s $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which provides families with strong support in early childhood so kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 invested a further $135.9 million toward realising our early childhood vision.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“This is about giving every Victorian child access to a good education and the opportunity to reach their potential regardless of background, place or circumstance.”

“Children in out of home care are some of the most vulnerable members of our community, which is why it’s so important we provide them access to early learning.”