Exploring strategies for re-engaging children and young people in learning while living in out-of-home care in the Northern Territory, Australia

Steven Roche, Priscilla Dunk-West, Carmela Otarra, Robert Taylor, Michelle Moss

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Abstract

The education of children living in out-of-home care (OOHC) has been a long-standing concern for children and their carers, policy-makers and researchers who have long highlighted the issue of low educational attainment and disengagement among children in care. This study investigates the strategies and practices used within a pilot programme based in the Northern Territory, Australia, that aims to re-engage children living in OOHC with education and training. Drawing on qualitative interviews with programme stakeholders, including educators, carers, child and family welfare workers, as well as an analysis of programme and client documentation, this study explores the programme's strategies to achieve re-engagement. The findings highlight the role of agile child-centred practice responding to the learning needs of participants, a focus on the ‘educational futures’ of students, as well as liaison and advocacy with schools and stakeholders on behalf of children in supporting re-engagement in education settings. Barriers to successful re-engagement include limited consideration of the cultural needs of children across education and OOHC systems, in particular the disruptive impact of OOHC placement changes, as well as programme discontinuity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1034
Number of pages13
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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