2 Jun 2022
Children impacted by family violence are often forced into hiding or need to move multiple times – and the disruptions can lead to them falling behind at school and becoming isolated from friends.
Community organisation McAuley supports women and children who have faced famliy violence and homelessness to take control of their lives and have developed a learning support program designed to helps such youngsters
The Ross Trust is pleased to contribute $120,000 to the unique program, which has so far conducted over 300 tutoring sessions online.
McAuley is supporting about 150 children over the year, with enrolments in the program steadily increasing. Education Support Officer Brendan Shananhan says the program is currently supporting 15 children with another 10 children awaiting allocation. The aim this year is to reach even further and enrol more children directly affected by the shadow of family violence.
‘The need to flee dangerous homes means children are disconnected from their schools and continue to experience disruption to their education through extended periods in refuges or motels,’ Brendan says.
‘We know that high levels of absenteeism results in reduced engagment, underdeveloped social skills, and that students are more likely to leave school early.’
Brendan says that McAuley’s workforce of skilled volunteer tutors who are trained in trauma-informed practice tailor the program and approach for each child. Children are provided with laptops so they can work with tutors online, and mothers and primary carers are involved so routines are supported.
‘We find that including carers in the sessions also provides important opportunities to restore relationships and develop new routines often damaged by family violence,’ Brendan said. ‘We also liaise with schools to identify the child’s learning and social needs, and provide updates on the child’s progress. Where possible we want to wrap our service around the child and provide a safe learning environment that promotes and builds success.’
The Ross Trust CEO Sarah Hardy says she is pleased the trust is able to continue supporting the program.
‘The organisation does important work in helping children to continue their learning regardless of their location,’ she said. ‘It’s also wonderful that the program is available to children who are clients of any family violence service.
‘This is a unique program and, as far as McAuley knows, the only one that is addressing the learning and engagement needs of children and families experiencing family violence.’
Visit https://www.mcauley.org.au/our-work/childrens-programs/mcauley-learning-support/ for more information on the program.