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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 3 June 2021) . . Page.. 1741 ..


mentor and tutor residents in literacy and numeracy and to contribute towards building a rich learning environment.

That is what the TEACHaR program actually does; it is not a formal training program and this is my concern. If we pass Mrs Kikkert’s motion, the expectation will be that we will then be asked how many people have engaged in some kind of formal training program as opposed to being supported by community partners like Anglicare through the teacher program or like our other community partners who work with ACT Together and the Australian Childhood Foundation that support staff in residential care to work with young people with significant trauma backgrounds to develop a therapeutic response to those children and young people.

A therapeutic response for many of those children and young people is not about sitting down and counselling and going through multiple counselling sessions; a therapeutic response to children and young people is actually about creating a more normal life for those young people and helping them to engage in the everyday activities they enjoy and helping them to engage in an education journey. So it is not a formal training program those staff would go on.

The amendment is not intended in any way to diminish what Mrs Kikkert is asking for—we 100 per cent support the intention of her motion because it goes to the very important issue of how we best provide holistic support to children and young people in out of home care or in youth detention.

In supporting this motion, we acknowledge that, on the face of it, many of the statistics on educational outcomes for children and young people involved in the child protection and the youth justice systems do not paint a particularly positive picture. However, it is important to contextualise those statements around these outcomes.

The most important thing is to recognise—I am sure that Mrs Kikkert does—that the situations that cause children and young people to come into contact with child protection, out of home care or the youth justice system are very likely also to be the kind of factors that will impact on their educational outcomes. Children and young people involved in these systems are likely to have experienced significant trauma through abuse or neglect. We know the impact that trauma can have on a child or young person’s development and the impact it can have on engagement in education.

When we listen to the stories of children and young people, for example, who have a domestic and family violence experience in their home—whether they are in out of home care or not—that can impact their capacity to engage in education. So it is not only children and young people in out of home care who have trauma experiences but also those who live at home who are vulnerable and have trauma experiences who also have their capacity to engage in education impacted.

As I have said in this place many times before, we are committed to building a child protection system that is trauma informed and that meets the diverse needs of every child and young person. In doing that, we recognise that this journey is different for every child and young person and that, in some cases, it can be a very long journey.


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