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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2258

Mr GOODENOUGH (Moore) (13:46): I wish to acknowledge the work of YouthCARE in delivering school-based chaplaincy programs, providing the necessary pastoral care to keep students engaged in learning by increasing school attendance and reducing absenteeism. Over the past year, 30 chaplains based at 32 public schools in my electorate of Moore conducted approximately 6,142 counselling sessions with students, parents, carers and school staff relating to family relationships, behavioural concerns, peer relationships and mental health. Young people face a range of pressures in our community, with issues such as bullying, depression, and alcohol and drug use commonly encountered.

YouthCARE chaplains assisted at-risk students with limited family support to overcome the obstacles to furthering their education by serving more than 400 meals at breakfast clubs; conducting social, emotional and physical programs; and providing mentoring to students attending lunchtime groups. Adequate resourcing is required to deliver these valuable services into the future. Security of tenure is also important to chaplains in terms of their employment contracts. I strongly advocate for continued government funding of YouthCARE in the budget forward estimates. Immeasurable benefits to society are achieved when at-risk youth are constructively engaged in learning and complete their education. (Time expired)