How well children and young people do at school continues to be linked to parental income – demonstrating that Victoria’s education and early childhood system reinforces, rather than addresses, disadvantage. High quality and integrated education, early childhood education and care, and other community services can successfully break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. All Victorian children and young people, regardless of parental income or geographical location, have a right to access quality basic education and early childhood development services.

There are many barriers to different services working collaboratively to support children and young people, yet there is clear evidence that working together delivers improved outcomes. Integrated services play a crucial role in reducing the fragmentation of the service system, and provide a valuable mechanism to keep people linked in with their community. This is particularly true in relation to children, young people and their families. Services, such as children’s hubs, however need to evolve to ensure that they become coordinated centres of care, not just co-located services. Achieving truly integrated services requires schools, early childhood services, and a range of other community organisations to work in partnership.

Universal services, such as schools, playgroups, maternal and child health, kindergarten and child care, provide a strong foundation for the well-being of children and their families. These services also assist in combating disadvantage and improving health and well-being. However, many vulnerable children and families are unable to access these services, due to a range of factors including location, cost and availability. Children and young people who are vulnerable, who have complex and diverse needs, including students from low income families, who are Indigenous, from migrant or refugee families, who are in State care, and/or who have a disability have poorer education outcomes than those who do not experience disadvantage.

VCOSS campaigns for:

  • the universal service system, including schools and early childhood services, to better respond to the diverse needs of all Victorian children and young people
  • increased resources for schools and early childhood programs in areas of disadvantage
  • increased resources to support individual disadvantaged students within schools

“I just want to go to school: Voices of young people experiencing educational disadvantage” is a project by Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service, Jesuit Social Services and MacKillop Family Services.

The project aims to further develop understanding of the factors that contribute to young people deciding to leave school…

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Thousands of children have started or have returned to school over the last week and many families are noticing the impact of back-to-schools costs on their budgets. However, for many families, the costs associated with state schooling are simply beyond reach. The escalating costs of uniforms, books,…

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The Victorian Government recently announced that the School Focused Youth Service (SFYS) will continue, with some modifications to ensure it meets the needs of schools and at-risk young people. SFYS agencies that currently provide services are being asked to complete an expression of interest to deliver services from 1…

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