In 2007 the Australian government established the National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP), a three year program that provided funds to establish a chaplain in schools that successfully applied for a grant. Due to its success the program was extended to the end of 2011 and in 2012 the program was extended and expanded to include 1,000 more schools, and the non-faith-based option of a Student Welfare Worker (SWW). There were 2,900 chaplaincies and 600 SWWs in 3,500 grant schools nation-wide from 2012- 14.
‘It is a voluntary program that assists school communities to support the spiritual, social, and emotional wellbeing of their students. This can include support and guidance about ethics, values, relationships and spirituality; the provision of pastoral care; and enhancing engagement with the broader community.’ - from the former NSCSWP website.
On June 19, 2014 the High Court ruled that the method of providing grants to schools was outside the narrowly defined "executive power" of federal governments under the constitution and that chaplaincy grants must be applied via the states. The National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP) therefore ceased to operate for the remainder of 2014, while grants already paid enable providers to keep employing chaplains and SWWs to the end of the year as originally intended.
Barring procedural or political delays it is expected the federally budgeted funds for 2015 will be passed in the August - September session of Parliament and details of any new grant application process could be announced by October.
Want to know more about Generate's Chaplaincy Program: myChaplain? Watch our video below!