All children and young people have a right to world class education. Inclusive, accessible and quality education promotes healthy development and lifelong opportunities. For children and young people in care, their preschool or school can be an important source of safety, stability and positive relationships.
Children and young people in care have access to a range of educational supports to meet their learning needs and achieve positive educational outcomes. These are listed below.
For information about which education decisions carers can make on their own and which decisions require DCP to be involved, please see Who Can Say OK?
For more information on any of the services and supports below, please speak to the child or young person’s caseworker.
Early entry into preschool
Children in care are eligible to attend a government preschool for 12 hours per week after their 3rd birthday. They will then be eligible for 15 hours of preschool per week in the year before they start school. Enrolments in a government preschool can occur at any time of the year.
They may start school when they reach the age of eligibility for enrolment at a government school, or continue at preschool until they are aged 6.
DCP will facilitate the preschool enrolment process. For more information, speak to the child’s DCP caseworker.
Children and young people in care receive prioritised preschool and school enrolments for South Australian government schools. This includes:
- a facilitated enrolment process with Student Support Services to ensure that children and young people in care receive the necessary support to meet their learning needs
- in some cases, automatic entry of a child or young person in care to their nominated South Australian government school of choice, at any point of their schooling, and regardless of school zone or location.
All school enrolments are initiated by DCP. For more information, speak to the child or young person’s DCP caseworker.
The One Plan is a personalised learning plan that contains information to support a child’s inclusion and achievement in preschool and school. All children and young people in care attending a government preschool or school are expected to have a One Plan.
The child’s school will prepare a One Plan following enrolment. The One Plan is developed in partnership with the child’s teacher, carer, caseworker, and any other relevant people. The child or young person will usually be involved in the planning also.
The One Plan replaces a range of different education and learning plans, such as the Individual Education Plan (IEP), and brings them together in one document.
The child’s school will facilitate the One Plan process together with DCP. For more information, speak to the child or young person’s DCP caseworker.
Your input into the development of the child or young person’s One Plan is invaluable. For more information about the One Plan and your role, please see the One Plan DCP carer factsheet (PDF, 633.6 KB).
School engagement program
The School Engagement Program works with young people in care from primary school to 17 years, who are at most risk of disengaging from education.
The program brings together the young person, carer, caseworker, school staff and other professionals to review their One Plan and source suitable supports and interventions to support the young person to remain engaged in education.
Referrals to the school engagement program are made by DCP. For more information, speak to the child or young person’s DCP caseworker.
Children and young people in care may be eligible for tutoring through the School Engagement Program.
For children and young people with a disability, tutoring services are offered through the Out-of-home Care Tutoring Program. These programs provide short-term supports as a supplement to mainstream education.
DCP can make a referral to access tutoring services. For more information, speak to the child or young person’s DCP caseworker.
The Mentor Program provides a one-on-one service for children and young people in care from primary school aged to 17 years.
The Mentor Program allows children and young people to spend time at their school with a mentor offering support and guidance, and can encourage successful participation in school.
Referrals for mentoring are made by DCP. For more information, speak to the child or young person’s DCP caseworker.
Children and young people with a disability can receive extra support from their preschool or school through the Inclusive Education Support Program (IESP).
The eligibility criteria has been developed to focus on a child’s needs in the preschool or school environment rather than their disability diagnosis. This approach recognises all disabilities and learning difficulties, including mental health, trauma and complex behaviours.
Applications for IESP funding are facilitated by the child or young person’s school together with DCP. For more information, speak to the child or young person’s DCP caseworker.
The School Card scheme offers financial assistance with school fees (materials and service charges) for students attending South Australian government schools.
All children and young people in care are eligible for the School Card. This process occurs automatically, and does not require an application to be completed.
Approved family-based carers receive regular support payments to help cover the day to day costs of caring for a child or young person. The carer payment includes an Education Grant paid at the beginning of each school term to assist with costs like preschool and school fees not covered by the School Card, stationary, uniforms and excursions.
The DCP Carer Payments Team facilitates this process. More information is available on the carer support payments page.
Waiver of course fees
Young people who are, or who have been in care and are aged 16 years and over are eligible to have their fees waivered for courses funded through the Government of South Australia’s Subsidised Training Initiative. This applies to any approved Registered Training Organisation (RTO), including TAFE SA, where they have met course entry requirements.
Young people with a care experience are also automatically eligible to receive individual case management support through the TAFE SA Learning Support Services.
While in care, DCP can assist the young person to apply for a course fee waiver. For more information, speak to the young person’s DCP caseworker.
Dame Roma Mitchell Trust Fund
Children and young people who are, and who have been in care may be eligible to receive a Dame Roma Mitchell Grant.
There are three categories of grants, one of which supports young people to re-engage in learning or earning to successfully achieve educational or vocational outcomes.
While in care, DCP can assist the young person to apply for the Dame Roma Mitchell Grant. For more information, speak to the young person’s DCP caseworker.
Some children and young people in care attend a non-government school. Each of these schools have their own arrangements in place for education planning, learning support and financial assistance for children and young people in care.
DCP facilitates non-government school enrolments. If this applies to the child or young person in your care, please speak to the child or young person’s DCP caseworker.
DCP is partnering with a number of non-government schools to provide scholarships for children and young people in care to attend these schools fee-free and with a package of educational supports. A scholarship can provide a child or young person in care with educational opportunities in a chosen environment that reflects their particular talents and aspirations.
Catholic Education South Australia Scholarships Program
Commencing in 2020, Catholic Education South Australia (CESA) is now providing up to 200 scholarships for children and young people in care to attend Catholic schools across the state.
For more information on the program please see the Catholic Schools Scholarship Program fact sheet for carers (PDF, 768.4 KB).
SEDA College SA scholarships
SEDA College SA has now joined the DCP Scholarships Program. SEDA College SA is an independent senior secondary college for Year 11 and 12 students, delivering a SACE curriculum through immersion in the sports and recreation industry.
For more information on the program please see the SEDA College SA Scholarship Program fact sheet for carers (PDF, 826.9 KB).