What Vinnies does
Across Australia, many children benefit hugely from support provided by Vinnies. Our services to children come in many forms, but can include kids’ camps, respite programs and homework tutoring. In doing this, Vinnies provides the children and their families a fun outlet or much needed break from the hardships they may be experiencing.
Vinnies is also engaged in early intervention work around the country, to give young children the best start in life. We help families who may be in need of parenting support to assist their young children’s development. This assistance can take many forms: home visits, parent education and training programs, or broad-based family support. If you’re in need of family assistance, see more information in the Find Help section of this website
Our advocacy on education has recently focused on opposition to plans to cut TAFE funding in Australia. We believe that tertiary and vocational training is an important path out of disadvantage, and should be accessible to all. We have written a submission to government on this issue and a vocal supporter of the Gonski reforms for fairer school funding.
Explore the issue
The St Vincent de Paul Society is deeply concerned with the high numbers of children living below the poverty line in Australia today, many of whom come from families surviving on meagre income support payments such as the Newstart Allowance.
In 2013, the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) report on child poverty found that nearly 600,000 children are living in homes where the income is below the poverty line. In the same year, Vinnies welcomed the appointment of Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner, but we believe more needs to be done.
To secure a better future for children living in poverty, we call on the government to:
- Increase the rate of income support payments by a minimum of $50 per week for the benefit of children and their families.
- Implement a needs-based education funding model, such as the ‘Gonski’ Education Reforms to address the needs of the most disadvantaged students in our state school systems. Read our submission to the most recent Inquiry into School Funding and the subsequent Senate report handed down on July 9, 2014.
Vinnies welcomed the Australia Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) report, The Forgotten Children, which was made public on 11 February, 2015 following the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention in 2014. We support the Commission's recommendations that all children and families in detention in Australia and Nauru be released into the community immediately; for all Christmas Island detention facilities to be closed; and for a Royal Commission to examine the long term impacts on the physical and mental health of children immigration detention.
Our researchers also regularly provide submissions or reports to government and independent inquiries on matters concerning children’s health and safety, as well as the provision of education in Australia. The most recent submissions include those to:
- The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, outlining Vinnies’ support for a National Working With Children Safety Check.
- A government inquiry into the role of the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system and its operation in April 2013.
- Inquiries on amendments to the Migration Act where Vinnies has outlined its opposition to the mandatory detention of men, women and children.
- Campaigning for a more equitable, needs-based funding system for our schools, such as, the education reforms proposed by David Gonski in February 2012. Read our submission to the 2014 Inquiry into School Funding and the subsequent Senate report handed down in July 2014.
What you can do
- Get involved in volunteering with kid’s camps and children’s activities.
- Read more about Vinnies views immigration detention in our Policy on Refugees released in September 2013.
- Find out how young refugees and migrants are benefiting from Vinnies programs and read first-hand accounts about the positive impacts we are having.
- Read our Annual Overview Publication 2013 focusing on the power of education.