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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 March 2015) . . Page.. 1045 ..

wider college community. They will mingle with the broader student cohort. Co-locating the program at Canberra College and near the Woden bus interchange allows significantly improved transport access for CCCares students.

In addition, locating CCCares at the Canberra College allows its students to engage in the additional curriculum that is offered within the mainstream college, broadening each student’s potential to work towards their year 12 certificate. The students there will have access to the additional curriculum offered through the college. This includes areas of science, performing arts, textiles, art and design, and other subjects. Students will be able to study towards a year 12 certificate at a tertiary accredited level if desired, as accessing classes will be possible through this co-location.

Proximity to Woden Westfield and local businesses will enable work placement for CCCares students. And the partnership with ACT Health will be further developed as CCCares students are within walking distance of services provided by the Canberra Hospital.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, why is it important that the ACT government supports CCCares?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for the question. We know that research suggests that reconnecting with education can often be a difficult prospect for pregnant and parenting young people. One of the most effective ways to minimise the risk of such outcomes is to support pregnant and parenting young people to stay connected to schooling. This allows the young parents to minimise the potential negative impact that early childbearing can have on adolescents, including lower educational attainment, lower occupational attainment and an increased risk of poverty and violence. Alternatively, education programs also provide young parents with the necessary impetus for positive life change and are a critical point at which intergenerational disadvantage can be addressed.

The college has a number of partnership agreements across the community. The health needs attended to through the partnerships include antenatal and postnatal nursing and child immunisations and occupational therapy, physio and speech therapy.

However, the best reason to support CCCares, I believe, comes from the students themselves. It was a pleasure to talk with the students there. Students have commented that the program has supported their future. As one student said, “Being able to bring my kids to school with me and have them cared for while I study means I can go to school and learn.” Another said, “I now see a future for me and my children. I was so lost before and couldn’t see a way out.” Finally: “CCCares has offered me support when I had none. The staff is amazing; I now feel life has a lot to offer me and my kids.”

One of the other points that the students made was that their completion of education made them parents that they wanted their children to be proud of. I think that is the underlying story of the benefits and the absolute reason why this government supports CCCares. (Time expired.)

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