Media Release – AYAC Congratulates Government on Changes to the National School Chaplaincy Program

AYAC today congratulated the Federal Government for making significant changes to the National School Chaplaincy Program based on responses from the community.

“AYAC is heartened by Minister Garrett’s statement today that the Program will be extended to include secular youth and welfare workers. We are also very pleased that minimum qualifications will be introduced, requiring all new chaplains to complete a Certificate IV in Youth Work or an equivalent qualification. We are particularly pleased that the Minister has placed a strong emphasis on the quality and value of qualified youth workers in schools”, said Andrew Cummings, Executive Director of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.

“We, as a sector, have recognised the positive impact youth workers have had on schools for a long time and welcome the Government’s acknowledgment of this.”

AYAC’s own submission to the National School Chaplaincy Program highlighted the need for people working with young people in schools to have minimum, appropriate qualifications. Minister Garrett’s call for existing chaplains to complete the two mandatory components of Mental Health and Making Referrals also highlights and acknowledges the need to better serve the needs of young people who often need expert help, particularly as mental health issues typically present during the school years.

Placing a stronger emphasis on rural, remote, and disadvantaged areas is a positive step towards increasing the strengths of Australia’s young people and AYAC will work closely with the Government in developing appropriate training, strategies and feedback mechanisms so that the program’s potential is maximised.

“Providing people and schools with choice is key to a well resourced school community and AYAC applauds the Government for listening to the many voices who responded to the program.”

For further comment, please contact Andrew Cummings, AYAC Executive Director:

(m) 0435 146 979  (e) andrew@ayac.org.au

You can download the full media release here (PDF – 587kb)