Media Release by The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

1,000 outside school hours care places for teenagers with disability

Teenagers with disability will continue to be able to access high quality holiday as well as before school and after school care, thanks to a funding injection of more than $7.23 million from the Gillard Government.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Amanda Rishworth, today announced the Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability program will be extended for another year until June 2014, and continue to deliver nearly 1,000 places.

“Including this latest funding boost, the Gillard Government has invested nearly $40 million for the popular Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disabilities program since it started in 2008,” Ms Rishworth said.

“This highly successful program, which allows teenagers aged 12-18 to join in a range of social and recreational activities, offers immense benefits for teenagers and their parents and carers.

“The program allows teenagers with disability to participate in fun activities that they might not otherwise experience, such as cooking classes, shopping trips, bowling, fishing, hip hop dancing, swimming, and horse riding.

“Feedback on the program has been positive, with parents and carers saying they have seen a real difference in their children, and have enjoyed seeing them blossom and grow developmentally and socially.

“We have also found that teenage students who have attended the program and return to school for the new term shift back into school life more smoothly than they have in the past.

“Traditional outside school hours care services usually cater only for primary school children, meaning parents and carers of teenagers with disability often can’t find appropriate care.

“These places are a life-saver for parents of teenagers with disability. The program recognizes that teenagers with disability often still require care or supervision due to their disability and that it can be difficult and costly to find age-appropriate care.

“Parents and carers have told us they appreciate the chance to have a break from their caring responsibilities, while knowing their children are getting the best care over the school holidays. Many felt the program gave them more quality time with their children.

“This extra time off helps reduce the stress and difficulties that families can experience during the busy school holiday periods.

“Importantly, these places offer carers the chance to participate more in community life, with more than 80 per cent surveyed for an independent evaluation reporting that the program allowed them the opportunity to work.”

The Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability program began in January 2008 and currently provides care for more than 1800 participants from 64 locations across Australia. It is a key action under the National Disability Strategy.

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