Teenagers with disability benefiting from outside school program
An independent evaluation of the Australian Government’s Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability provides strong evidence that the program is having a positive impact on teenagers with disability and their families.
Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas today welcomed the evaluation which showed parents and carers had more opportunities to work and participate in all aspects of community life since the program commenced in 2008.
“More than 80 per cent of parents surveyed said the program provided them with the opportunity to work,” Minister Macklin said.
“It also found that teenagers are being provided with opportunities to participate in developmental, social and recreational activities.
“Importantly, parents and carers felt the program gave them more quality time with their children, while still getting respite to help them continue their caring role.”
The Australian Government is investing $21.15 million over three years to deliver the Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability program.
The program recognises that teenagers with disability often still require care or supervision due to their disability and that it can be difficult and more costly to find age-appropriate care.
Senator McLucas said the National Disability Strategy will help to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.
“This program is giving teenagers with disability the chance to have a social life, be active and develop the life skills that many others their own age take for granted.”
“But, it also gives parents and carers a break from their caring responsibilities, which are generally so much more consuming than for other parents.
Often the message I hear from carers is that they just need a break to recharge every now and again, whether it’s to pursue education, their careers or simply have a cup of coffee with friends. The program gives carers, who put so much time into their caring roles, opportunities to take some time for themselves.”
For more information about the Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers program visit www.fahcsia.gov.au.