Investment in Children's Education
The Collier Charitable Fund has supported the work of Launch Housing for over 30 years. Launch Housing is an independent Melbourne based community organisation formed from the merger of Hanover and HomeGround Services, which brings 75 years’ experience working with people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. They provide flexible, specialist housing and support services that directly assist over 18,000 individuals and households each year. Their mission is to end homelessness.
A dedicated Launch Housing team delivers a specialist response for children experiencing homelessness and family violence called the Homeless Children’s Specialist Support Service (HCSSS). This work is guided by the team’s belief that children must be supported to address educational, health, social and emotional challenges in a timely manner. Otherwise, they are at greater risk of experiencing homelessness and disengagement from education and employment into their youth and adulthood.
The HCSSS identified that children were especially vulnerable to disengagement from school while their family experiences homelessness. To address this need, the innovative Education Pathways Program was created. Since its inception in October 2015, the Collier Charitable Fund has seen this critical innovative program evolve firsthand into the highly successful program that is delivered today. We are thrilled to report that the support of the Fund has enabled a significant 182 children to reengage with school to date.
“We are incredibly grateful for the longstanding support of the Fund. It is only with the remarkable support of Australia’s philanthropic community that Launch Housing is able to trial innovative solutions to work towards our mission to end homelessness,” said Tony Keenan, CEO of Launch Housing.
The Education Pathways Program aims to support the regular school attendance, participation and wellbeing of children experiencing homelessness and family violence. The program specifically works to mitigate the negative effects of these experiences on a child’s education, such as absenteeism.
The Education Pathways Program works to:
• Reduce lost learning time for children;
• Build capacity in parents; and
• Develop strong partnerships with schools.
The Education Pathways Program achieves these objectives through providing:
• Outreach engagement at emergency accommodation providers;
• Short term school enrolment at a local primary school;
• The Walking School Bus, which ensures regular attendance at school;
• The Healthy Eating Program to provide children with a nutritious breakfast and lunch each day;
• Cognitive and educational assessments, counselling and classroom support;
• School supplies and other material aid, such as school uniforms;
• Social inclusion through recreational activities; and
• Support to enrol in new schools when families find longer-term housing.
Every year the Education Pathways Program supports around 100 children to re-engage in education, with students achieving a remarkable 95-100% attendance rate. Parents are actively engaged with their children’s schooling, and have reported that their children are thriving. Local primary schools have also demonstrated increased understanding of the children’s experiences, which has promoted a more flexible learning approach.
There is no other service that routinely intervenes within an outreach capacity to support primary school attendance. We know that this program is making an incredible difference to educational outcomes of highly disadvantaged children.
The Education Pathways Program represents a significant ongoing service gap for many children experiencing homelessness. If you wish to find out more about this program, or Launch Housing more broadly, visit: https://www.launchhousing.org.au/ or email them at [email protected].