Connect. Learn. Thrive.

Educational Support Program for Young People Living in Foster, Kinship & Residential Care and Children Impacted by Trauma.

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”

Nelson Mandela

The Challenges for Young People in Care

Children living in foster, kinship, and residential care confront a myriad of challenges, their lives shaped by the profound impacts of trauma, abuse, and neglect on their cognitive, social, and emotional development. As they navigate the complexities of the foster care system, these young individuals often grapple with placement instability, frequent school absences, and unsuccessful attempts at reunification.

The resulting lack of a sense of safety compounds their struggles, leading to a compromised understanding of key curriculum concepts. This not only hampers academic progress but also ripples into peer relationships, confidence, mental health, self-esteem, and overall school engagement, magnifying the challenge. 

Queensland data from the Department of Education indicates this cohort of children shows lower achievement rates overall on the National Minimum Standards in NAPLAN tests than all Queensland students. Students in out-of-home care are also less likely to complete their high school education or go on to tertiary education, limiting their options for positive adult outcomes. When children miss out on the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy early on in their educational journey, they cannot keep up with their peers.

These cumulative factors create a disheartening trajectory, increasing the likelihood of school disengagement and the involvement of these children in the youth justice system. The Youth Justice Census Summary for Queensland between 2018 and 2022 indicates that up to 69% of youth involved in the youth justice system have experienced or been impacted by domestic and family violence and up to 63% are totally disengaged from education, training or employment. Recent figures also reveal that almost one-third of serious repeat offenders among Queensland youth are living in foster, kinship, or residential care.

The impact of trauma on outcomes for our young people is far reaching, and early intervention and support is critical to breaking the cycle.

Why Early Intervention Matters

Early intervention support tailored to each child’s unique needs, grounded in relationships, emerges as a beacon of hope.

Our Little Stars Learners program is designed to make a tangible and lasting difference, specifically targeting children struggling at school.

By providing personalised wrap around support, we help these young individuals catch up to their peers, rekindle their engagement with education, and, most importantly, break the cycle of adversity. 

“We know the drivers putting young people on a collision course with the youth justice system significantly overlaps with risk factors for involvement with the child protection system.” TOM ALLSOP, CEO, PeakCare Queensland

Introducing Little Stars Learners

Since 2020, Little Stars Learners has helped over 1,000 young people living in foster, kinship and residential care get up to speed with the Queensland curriculum, positively engage with school and improve their happiness, confidence and self-esteem.

Our mission is to contribute to a brighter and more promising future for these vulnerable children, ensuring they have the support and tools needed to overcome the hurdles they face.

Download a Free Information Kit

Discover more about our trauma-informed education support program for young people living in Foster, Kinship & Residential Care and other children impacted by trauma in Queensland by requesting a Little Stars Learners Information Kit.

“He spent much of his time at school, absconding, hiding or literally jumping up on the roof to escape people. As he had violent tendencies, there was little the staff could do. Even the Principal was afraid of this child. Then we started him through the Little Stars Kids program... During the entire hour, this young person was engaged and happy and in a short period of time gained literacy and numeracy skills he would never ever have attained in a classroom”

Little Stars Learners is a Comprehensive and Trauma-Informed Educational Intervention

Outside-of-School, One-on-One Support

We recognise the need for educational intervention outside of school, providing one-on-one support in the child’s home. This approach ensures flexibility and a sense of safety crucial for effective learning.

Connection and Fun

We recognise the importance of educational intervention being based on connection and a sense of fun to re-engage children with school and education. Creating positive learning experiences fosters a love for learning and mitigates challenges associated with disengagement.

Trauma-Informed Support

We acknowledge the need for trauma-informed educational support, addressing the impact of trauma on cognitive, social, and emotional functioning. Tailor interventions to provide a supportive and understanding environment for children who have experienced trauma.

Challenges Faced at School

We explore the challenges faced by fostered children at school, including impacts on peer relationships, anxiety, and behavioral issues. We tailor educational support to address these challenges and create a supportive learning environment.

Adverse Life Outcomes

We know that failure to engage in education can lead to adverse life outcomes, including early involvement with the youth justice system, poor mental health outcomes, and joblessness. Our team is passionate about changing life trajectories for our children.

Reducing Stress Through Educational Intervention

Our educational intervention plays a pivotal role in supporting foster and kinship carers by alleviating the stress associated with school disengagement, academic challenges, and placement instability. By providing targeted, one-on-one support tailored to the unique needs of each child, we aim to create a supportive learning environment that reduces the burdens faced by both carers and children. This intervention not only fosters academic success but also contributes to the overall well-being and stability of the foster care community.

Designed for Young People Who’ve Experienced Complex Childhood Trauma

We know the challenges people face when they’ve experienced complex childhood trauma and how to work with these students to improve outcomes.

Endorsed by Out-of-Home Care Leaders

Discover what Foster & Kinship Agencies say in support of Little Stars Learners.

Image of Shelley Wall



Image of Mel Hayes


State Director QLD KEY ASSETS

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Leading Authority in Child Protection

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Head of Operations FYP MERCY COMMUNITY

Little Stars Wrap Around Service

We endeavour to include Little Stars Learners students in Fun & Laughter activities delivered through the Little Stars Foundation.

These include theatre trips, football and a range of fun activities they may not otherwise get to experience.

It’s designed to help young people build connections, make friends, rebuild self-esteem, developing a sense of trust and improve their mental and physical health outcomes.