Systemic inquiry into the educational experiences of children and young people living in out-of-home care

About the inquiry

The Commission for Children and Young People has established an inquiry into the educational experiences of children and young people living in out-of-home care. The Commission understands the importance of quality education for these young people and its influence on their futures.

My education was always the one safe place and stable thing in my life and I thrived in that environment. I was removed two weeks before starting VCE at a new school which was super scary and stressful. But I was lucky that the wellbeing team was incredibly supportive and I had a space at school to work through what was happening at home. (Jane, 20)

The Commission has heard time and time again, however, about the challenges that children and young people in care face to stay at school and do well, especially when there are issues at home.

As a teenager who feels that their life is being destructed, it was really hard…I got bullied a lot for living in resi care…All I wanted was to be normal and do normal teenage stuff...And moving schools made it hard to learn and this has affected how I learn now. (Sarah, 20)

The Commission is interested in exploring children and young people’s experiences of education, including in kindergarten, primary and secondary school, or in specialist schools. A key component of the inquiry will be speaking to children and young people in care to hear about their time at school and what improvements can be made to help them and others in the future.

How to make a submission

The Commission would also like to hear from children and young people in other ways and invites anyone with experience in the care system to make a submission to the inquiry. This could be by responding to the questions here, or through a written, video or audio submission. For more information, go to the submission for children and young people page.

The Commission also welcomes other interested stakeholders, including individuals and organisations who support children and young people in care, to make a submission to the inquiry.

The inquiry’s terms of reference are to:  

  • develop an understanding of how children and young people in care experience education, including Aboriginal children and young people and children and young people with disability  
  • identify the barriers to education for children and young people in care  
  • examine the impact of COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns on the educational experiences and engagement of children and young people in out-of-home care, including their access to supports  
  • identify the extent to which policies and practices relating to out-of-home care support children and young people to stay in school, including those provided by the Department of Education and Training, Child Protection, and family services  
  • recommend changes to policy, practice, legislation, or the delivery of services to:  
    • improve young people’s experiences of education in out-of-home care  
    • protect and promote young people’s right to education.