Educational supports for children in care

Children and young people enter the care system for a variety of reasons including:

  • abuse or neglect
  • illness or the death of a parent
  • their family being unable to provide adequately for them at that point in time.

Schools provide a safe and supportive environment for children and young people to develop the positive relationships that contribute to wellbeing, engagement and success in learning.

Individual education plans

All children in care who are enrolled in preschool or school must have access to an individual education plan (IEP).

An IEP provides a process for sharing relevant information between the student, their caseworker and their school. The plan also helps the student achieve their potential.

See learning plans for young people in care for more information.

Educational support for children and young people

The following resources are available to support the education of children and young people under the guardianship of the minister.

For further information about any of the programs, contact the child’s case manager.

Early entry into preschool

Children who are under the guardianship of the minister are eligible to start preschool from their third birthday.


Children and young people under the guardianship of the minister require a specific enrolment process which ensures the student is enrolled in a school suitable to their needs.

Transition from year 7 to year 8

The transition from primary school to high school is a critical time for all students, and students under guardianship are particularly at risk.

Year 7 students in care are able to enrol and be accepted into any government secondary school of their choice in South Australia.

School engagement program

The school engagement program assists young people under guardianship of the minister aged 12 to 17 who are at risk of disengaging from education.

The program brings together a range of services to review the child or young person's IEP and organise extra support to help them stay at school.

Tutoring service for students with disability

Students with disability who are placed in care may be eligible for extra tutoring to help them at school.

This funded service is short-term and is not a replacement for long-term support.


Young people in care may be eligible for a mentoring program that provides an opportunity to build a positive relationship with an adult outside more formal services.

Financial support

There are a number of financial supports to help children and young people in care with their education.

Education grant

An education grant is paid to family-based carers to cover the educational costs of children and young people in care.

For further information, contact the Department for Child Protection Carer Payments team.

School Card

The school card scheme offers financial assistance with educational expenses.

All school students in care are eligible for the school card.

This benefit does not apply to preschool children.

Dame Roma Mitchell Trust Fund

Grants are available to children and young people in care. See Dame Roma Mitchell grants for additional information.

Related information

On this site

The education system in South Australia
Health and wellbeing
Student support programs

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Page last updated 27 February 2020

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Department for Child Protection
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