YouthCare Response to High Court Decision on School Chaplaincy Funding

Media RELEASE

For immediate release
Wednesday, 20 June 2012

School Chaplaincy to continue despite funding glitch

YouthCARE CEO, Stanley Jeyaraj, is pleased that the High Court today made no adverse findings about the validity of National School Chaplaincy Program by the Commonwealth. The judgement found that the service of providing chaplains in public schools was not inconsistent with the Constitution.
With the strong support expressed by both Federal and State governments for school chaplaincy, YouthCARE – the provider of school chaplaincy to 95% of public schools in WA – is optimistic that school chaplaincy will continue in WA public schools.

“This is a matter between the State and Federal Governments and it is imperative that the faulty funding mechanism be addressed and rectified as soon as possible.” YouthCARE is encouraged by the initial response of the WA Minister for Education, The Hon Elizabeth Constable MLA, as well as the
Commonwealth Attorney General and the Minister for Education. They are clearly committed to resolving the matter at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I urge the State Premier, The Hon. Colin Barnett MLA and the Minister for Education, to act swiftly and negotiate a settlement of this matter with the Commonwealth. The uncertainty created by the judgement needs to be resolved as soon as possible for the sake of thousands of students, parents and
teachers who value this program” said Mr Jeyaraj.

Mr Jeyaraj added that given the huge community support, it is absolutely crucial that certainty be given to its YouthCARE school chaplains and members of the various educational communities who use its services. We want to continue with our work. Our communities matter.

He said that YouthCARE’s collaborative partnership with the WA Department of Education spans 40 years. “Our capacity to deliver a quality service that is responsive to the needs of schools was recently confirmed when significant State funding was provided to YouthCARE to enable various innovative projects. Therefore, we remain optimistic that funding will continue to be provided to enable YouthCARE to provide valuable services to school communities in WA.”
ENDS

YouthCARE currently employs 285 chaplains in 494 public schools in WA through various funding sources. (200 of these chaplains are employed in 337 public schools in the metro and 85 chaplains in 157 public schools in regional areas.)

Issued by: Karen Coetzee, YouthCARE Communications Officer P O Box 482 Morley WA 6943
Enquiries: John Clapton YouthCARE, P O Box 482 Morley WA 6943
Tel.: (08) 93765012 email: johnc@youthcare.org.au Mobile: 0448 893 227

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