PM's commitment gives school chaplains security
EIGHT chaplains in the Gladstone region who operate at 15 schools were left in limbo after Toowoomba man Ron Williams successfully challenged the federal funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program in the High Court.
But after Prime Minister Tony Abbott reaffirmed his commitment to the program their future became more secure.
Peter James, a spokesman of the National School Chaplaincy Association, said the outcome had been expected.
"The court made some really strongly supportive comments about school chaplaincy, the pastoral care elements and spoke about the great benefits to some students," he said.
"The decision cast a brief moment of doubt over the program, but the fact the government quickly announced its commitment to the program was a relief."
Youth in the region voiced support for chaplains.
Chanel College graduate Hayden Newell said chaplains were integral to his schooling.
"If you need to talk to someone they're always there. I didn't struggle much, but if I had they would have been there for me," he said.
Gladstone resident Jye Fletcher said, "If there were any dramas with teachers they (chaplains) would always help me."
Scripture Union Queensland Capricornia District co-ordinator Paul Bendle said Gladstone chaplains were on the ground locally and could cater to the specific needs of particular schools and students.
"They're an advocate for students and a referral point of contact," he said.
"Chaplains work in conjunction with other youth service providers such as guidance officers, school-based youth health nurses and council youth workers.
Breakfast program: Gives kids a great start to the day, particularly those who may not have had a wholesome meal.
Unlimited: Aimed at students who may be at risk of dropping out of school.
Shine: Run by female chaplains for girls, the program looks at inner beauty.
Strength: A program for boys that helps them look at the decisions they make.