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School Refusal Support

Giving every child a chance

Our School Refusal Support program offers early intervention for children who have anxiety and difficulty attending school. It supports families to understand and deal with the complex issues that can cause non-attendance at school. The program aims to reduce children’s anxiety, re-engage children with their education and provide family and school support to keep children attending school.

Non-attendance may happen during a period of transition in a student’s schooling or family life (eg moving from primary to secondary school, family breakdown, moving house and school etc). Children may also develop a fear of school attendance or become disengaged as a result of trauma at school or home (eg bullying, parental conflict, family violence etc).

Our counsellors are qualified professionals trained in a range of disciplines including psychology, family therapy and social work. They specialise in working with children and work holistically with parents/carers and the school community.

 

 

How does the program work?

Counsellors seek to understand and help children and adolescents with their reasons for non-attendance or school refusal. They also provide consultancy and training for teachers and professionals.

The program takes an integrated approach including: 

  • assessment and counselling for children, adolescents and their families
  • early intervention for students showing anxiety or the first signs of school refusal
  • parent and teacher information workshops
  • complete confidentiality for students, parents and schools
  • referrals to specialist services
  • training for school administrators and teachers
  • consultancy support for schools
  • how do I know if a child needs support?
  • School refusal can present in a number of ways:
  • crying spells and upsets before school
  • frequent physical complaints like headaches and stomach aches
  • fear of some teachers and/or other students
  • refusing to return to school after a weekend, holiday or illness

When a few missed days extend to a longer period of time, it can have serious consequences for a student’s social, emotional and academic development and their long term mental health and wellbeing.

Early intervention is important, so we encourage families and schools to contact us as soon as they notice a problem.

Eligibility

Our School Refusal Support program is available to all students in Catholic, State and Independent schools.

How do I access the service?

Referrals can be made in the following ways:

  • families can self-refer
  • schools can refer students
  • community agencies and Child and Youth Mental Health service providers can refer students and families

Fees

Our counselling services are subsidised by the Commonwealth Government. A means-tested co-contribution is required from those accessing the services.

Concession cardholders, Health Care cardholders and students pay a minimum fee of $20 per session.

More information

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Rana's story

"When you leave everything behind, life is full of fear and home is lonely. CatholicCare made me feel strong again. The community group was like a family.” ~ Rana