Investing in the education of Victoria’s care leavers benefits economy, study finds

  • Raising Expectations is creating a culture of ‘high expectations’ by supporting young people in out-of-home care and care leavers to aspire to, access and succeed at university and TAFE.
  • A report by Deloitte Access Economics finds that for every dollar invested in the Raising Expectations program, an estimated minimum of $1.80 is returned in economic and social benefits.
  • The new Raising Expectations website has all young people need to know to get started on their journey to TAFE or uni.
  • Since the program commenced in 2015, the number of Victorian care leavers participating in university and TAFE has increased six-fold, with 300+ care leavers in TAFE and university.

With young people predicted to be hardest-hit by the economic impact of COVID-19, Raising Expectations is continuing to prioritise access to vocational and higher education for young Victorians with an experience of out-of-home care.

Minister for Higher Education, the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP, Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Hon. Luke Donnellan MP and CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare Deb Tsorbaris officially launched the new Raising Expectations website, which makes it easier than ever for young people to find information and ask questions about going to university or TAFE, today via a virtual event.

The website includes a new chat feature as well as a mobile number that young people can text to communicate directly with a Raising Expectations team member. There are also FAQs and stories from care leavers about their higher education experience and journey into fulfilling employment.

Last month, Deloitte Access Economics found the social and economic benefits of the program substantially outweigh the costs of assisting young care leavers, who often experience disadvantage and receive limited supports. For every dollar invested in the Raising Expectations program, an estimated minimum of $1.80 is returned in economic and social benefits.

For example, the study also found that care leavers supported by Raising Expectations to complete their studies are expected to benefit from additional earnings and improved health outcomes, also reducing the load on government services, including justice, mental health, and homelessness services.

The number of young Australians who go on to higher education after living in out-of-home care is extremely low, compared with 40 per cent of the general population aged 25 to 35 years. Raising Expectations is delivering benefits to both care leavers and the broader community by increasing the participation of young people with care experience to access and succeed in vocational and higher education and beyond.

About: Raising Expectations is a partnership between the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Federation University Australia, La Trobe University and Swinburne University of Technology. The Victorian Department of Education and Training is the program’s funding partner. It works by increasing the awareness of vocational and higher education amongst young people in care, care leavers and their supporters. Few young people with a care experience (including foster, kinship and residential) go on to post-secondary education due to the barriers they face including a culture of low expectation, lack of day-to- day support, and fear of taking on debt.

Raising Expectations offers academic, personal, and financial support, as well as workshops, resources, and events to support young people to take the next step in their education journey. Currently, the Victorian Department of Education and Training funds the program, following an initial 3-year philanthropic grant from the Sidney Myer Fund.

More information: Visit raisingexpectations.com.au or text 0407 702 975

Quote attributable to Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare CEO Deb Tsorbaris
“The Centre is thrilled to be supporting more young people with a care experience to access vocational and higher education. The new Raising Expectations website makes finding information and getting support even easier. We are excited to be part of the change that sees ‘high expectations’ set for young people with a care background.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Higher Education, the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP
“We know that education transforms lives, and for young people with a care experience, going to university and TAFE may seem out of reach. Raising Expectations is making vocational and higher education a reality for this group of young people.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Hon. Luke Donnellan MP
“The website is a fantastic resource that makes university and TAFE more accessible than ever to care leavers, with new information and resources to provide support at every step of their journey.”

Quote attributable to Federation University Associate Professor Jacqueline Wilson
“With the highest number of care leaver students in Victoria, Federation University Australia is committed to providing care leavers with dedicated academic and personal support as well as scholarships and grants.”

Quote attributable to La Trobe University Associate Professor Andrew Harvey
“La Trobe University is proud to support care leaver students across all of our Victorian campuses, and the contribution they make to our culture and programs is invaluable.”

Quote attributable to Swinburne University of Technology Deputy Director, Student and Academic Services Stephanie Smith
“Swinburne is committed to supporting care leaver students to access and succeed in our programs, with a dedicated support person for care leavers at each of our three campuses.”

Quote attributable to the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc, General Manager, Lionel Bamblett
“VAEAI is committed to empowering its students to aspire and achieve in their education and to improving educational outcomes for all Koorie young people.”

Quote attributable to Deloitte Access Economics engagement partner Luke Condon
“Our research has revealed some significant benefits for young Victorians, from improved labour market participation to longer term earning potential and better wellbeing and health outcomes.”

For further comments, call Christie Long 0403 053 584

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