Children who have experienced abuse are far more likely to experience long term adverse life outcomes including mental health (higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide), physical health (higher rates of illness and disease) and relationship issue (marital breakdown, joblessness, isolation). Research has shown that these adverse outcomes can be minimised significantly if children can build positive relationships and have more positive experiences and help to aid their recovery.
Little Stars Learners Program
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”
The plight of educational outcomes for kids in foster care
Children in foster care often experience poor educational outcomes. Research shows that the educational gap between children in foster care and their peers tends to begin at a young age, increase as they get older, and persist through the course of their lives.
The reasons why our children in care tend to have poor educational outcomes includes pre-foster care factors such as maltreatment, neglect, disruptive behaviour and the impacts of trauma on the developing brain. Other in-care factors include placement instability, school interruptions, instability caused by intermittent visits with parents and separation from siblings and extended family. In many cases, children simply get lost in the system from an early stage and fall behind with little hope of catching up once the foundations of learning have been missed.
Poor educational outcomes can lead to low self-esteem, children disengaging with the school system prematurely, joblessness, engagement with the criminal justice system, drug abuse, mental health issues, youth pregnancy, suicide and a continuation of the cycle of abuse for offspring.
Breaking the cycle – education is the key
Education can play a significant role in changing the cycle for our children in foster care. When children in care miss the basics of reading and writing and are struggling to keep up with their peers, this can adversely affect self-esteem, confidence and reinforce negative beliefs that they child may have about themselves. This impacts upon social relationships at school and therefore a child’s engagement with education and their entire sense of self.
Conversely, if children can succeed in reading and maths at an early stage and achieve small successes at school, their confidence can be improved, and self-esteem grows as does their engagement with learning.
If children can engage with learning at an early stage and achieve positive outcomes at school, this can be the impetus that a child needs to develop hope and a positive vision of their life for the future.
How Little Stars Learners Program helps change lives
Our Little Stars Learners Program provides educational support through one on one academic tutoring for children in care.
Our tutors have specialised training in trauma and the impacts on the developing brain and understand the obstacles facing children in out of home care.
We believe that the early years are the key years where solid foundations can be laid for educational success.
Therefore, our Little Stars Learners Program targets children from Prep to Grade 6, with a particular focus on ensuring foundations for success in learning are laid by Grade 3.
Apply for the Little Stars Learners Program
We welcome applications from Foster Carers on behalf of children in long term foster care. Expressions of interest for a child to become part of the Little Stars Learners Program can be made by clicking on the link below.
IMPORTANT: Please click below to access the Criteria for Lodging an Expression of interest in the Little Stars Learners
Cuddle Cases Program
We are committed to ensuring that children do not enter care with a plastic bag or nothing, but rather that all children entering care are given a beautiful Case or Bag with their own personal items to support them as they begin their journey in foster care. We believe that children entering care should be given all the support, comfort and help they need to heal and navigate the difficult journey ahead, starting with a Cuddle Case. We believe that children should be supported to heal from abuse through connection to a caring community which Little Stars Kids provides through our Community Engagement Programs. We are also dedicated to ensuring that children in care do not fall behind in schooling and suffer poor educational outcomes due to the complex issues they have faced and continue to face as a result of the trauma and removal from their family of origin. We therefore support children through our Little Stars Learners Program which provides academic tutoring to children in long term foster care so that they can achieve success in schooling and have the tools to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
What is a Cuddle Case
A Cuddle Case is an age appropriate suit case, back pack or duffle bag which has been packed to include items that children need when they enter care. These include a teddy bear, quilt, pillow, toiletry bag, items for school and age appropriate books with beautiful message. Our Cuddle Cases are new and contain all new items, because we think that after all these children have been through and will continue to go through while in foster care, the least we can do is give them something special of their own. After all, when children are removed, they usually leave everything behind and are traumatised on many levels and need something positive and kind. A gift of a Cuddle Case can help a child feel less scared and alone and the power of that kindness cannot be underestimated. For many children, that moment of removal is one they will never forget – adding some kindness can help to shine a light in the darkness.
How can you help?
If you are an individual or corporate entity, you can help us through donating cases, holding a fundraiser at your work for items of donations, or providing corporate sponsorship to support our Cuddle Cases Program. If you would like to donate items, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can outline what we need.
Little Stars Community Engagement Program
Our Community Engagement Program brings children who have experienced abuse and neglect into a community who can support them throughout their childhood and beyond. Children engaged on our program become entitled to apply to participate in our Little Stars Learners Program and are also given many opportunities to participate in weekend day camps and outings to broaden their experiences and provide the children with fun, laughter, hope, positive relationships and a supportive community. This can include funding for sporting or musical tuition, funding for attendance at theatre events, AFL football games and other activities which the children would not usually get the chance to experience.