Queensland Government media release

The future is looking bright for 50 young Queensland women who are receiving scholarships funded by the Palaszczuk Government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Care2Achieve scholarships, delivered in partnership with The Smith Family, would provide young women who have been children in care with up to $11,000 over four years for their education.

“$1.2 million has been committed over the next five years to help these young women pursue further studies,” she said.

“In total we will see 100 young women benefit from these scholarships, with 50 recipients this year, and a further 50 next year.”

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said many young women leaving care often faced challenges that other young Queenslanders didn’t.

A recent report by NGO CREATE Foundation showed that only 47 per cent of young people aged 18 to 19 transitioning from care had completed Year 12.

In 2015 the Next Step Report found that out of a sample of children in out-of-home care who finished Year 12, just 10.6 per cent went on to tertiary studies, 25.5 per cent continued on to VET courses, and 8.5 per cent undertook an apprenticeship or traineeship.

“While many teenagers stay at home past 18, foster children generally move out at that age and start to live independently as adults,” Ms Fentiman said.

“What this funding will do is to help level the playing field, making tertiary studies more affordable and feasible for our young women leaving care.”

“Aside from addressing their educational outcomes, these scholarships will also help tackle the issues of gender inequality and the ongoing gender pay gap.”

In this year’s intake, professions including social work and nursing have proved popular choices for scholarship recipients.

“It is fantastic to see the majority of the young women receiving a Care2Achieve scholarship are applying for bachelor courses,” Ms Fentiman said.

Three of those receiving the scholarships today, Susu Do, Sharna Norman and Jennifer Avyanna said the grant was an important milestone in their pursuit of higher education.

“It’s a great help,” Ms Do, a social work student, said.

“I am in my second year of study and I know how much the extras add up so I’m really appreciative of the support as I work towards my degree.”

The scholarships offer direct financial assistance as well as practical support provided through The Smith Family.

The Smith Family Queensland General Manager, Alan Le May, said the Care2Achieve scholarships will provide young women leaving state care with a range of support mechanisms to help them throughout their tertiary studies.

“The scholarships will not only provide students with much-needed financial support, but personal support from a program coordinator and access to mentoring as they transition from further education to work,” he said.

“We know this approach is delivering really strong outcomes for the students we are already supporting through our Learning for Life educational scholarships, across all years of schooling.”

The successful applicants come from all over the state, from Pormpuraaw to Cunnamulla to Woolloongabba to Russell Island, and include eight Indigenous women and two refugees.

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