CCN Inc Response to the school chaplaincy report

School / Organisation

Name (will be made public unless requested otherwise)

Civil Celebrations Network Incorporated

Prepared by:

Rona Goold Chairperson

Email contact details:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Postal Details: PO Box 3113 Robertson NSW 2577

Responses:

Do you support the introduction of minimum qualifications for school chaplains?

 Yes

Do you support the introduction of a minimum Certificate IV (Associate Diploma) in Youth Work or similar (e.g. pastoral care, community services)?

 Yes

What should be the minimum entry qualifications?

 Certificate IV in School Chaplaincy

 Core Units in Chaplaincy - see below, plus many of the core units of the Youth Work Cert IV

What elements are most important for minimum qualifications for schools chaplains? (you can select more than one option)

 YES Youth work,   Referral expertise,    Negotiation skills,

 NO  Theological expertise,  Counselling skills,

 NB  Recognition of life experience - Important but  would be assessed by the School in their interviewing and choosing the most appropriate candidate from those who have the Minimum Qualification.

Also Recognised Prior Learning is able to be used to acquire CERT IV.

Other: (please provide details):

To be developed; 4 new units

UNIT 1 Role of School Chaplain -  The role. its benefits and limitations, support for the role/

A- adequately support the social emotional and spiritual development of  all students”

  • Role is one of community development / generalist primary care youth worker
  • to be a role model  for understanding and maturity that can see the good in other religions, and in all people, whether they have religious beliefs or not.
  • to 'empower young people to take responsibility for the well-being of self and others

  • inspire young people to live life more fully, creatively,  healthily and responsibly to self and others

  • to provide leadership / educate one is responsible as a member of a community and wider society to respect the rights of others and one's behaviour as an adult

  • to be able to identify, and develop a value // ethical system that serves them and others to live a healthy, creative life in community with others.

B- support (emotional/spiritual) includes non-judgmental positive regard, client focus, good listening skills)

C - being part of a well-being structure  - like a generalist primary care health worker

D - 'problem' identification, referral (to appropriate resources for assessment and intervention - school and community) and follow-up (this aspect needs more focus)

E - liaising with community organisations

F - carrying a sort of community identity (or 'bridge' between school, family and the wider community

UNIT 2• Human rights, Discrimination and Citizenship – Evolution of separation of church and state;  Human Right’s’ history and examples of the ways belief systems about the meaning of life and causes of human behaviour have and still do impact - on the treatment of women, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, people vulnerable to life style pressures etc. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens in a secular multicultural society

UNIT 3 • Spirituality, Religion and Community -

Relationship between belief, faith, knowledge and behaviour; Secular (Civil) Spirituality, New Age and other Forms of Spirituality, Comparative Religion, Cults, Advantages and Disadvantages, Stages of Religious/ Spiritual/Psychological  Growth, Examination of spiritual and religious beliefs and their impacts on human rights and society.

UNIT 4 * Rites of Passage and Stages of Human Growth to Maturity (physical, mental, spiritual and social, cultural). Symbolism. Dependence, Independence, Interdependence issues.  Their relation to alcohol and other drug use, mental health, violence, etc. Examination of the SA program used in some schools, called The Rite Journey (a unique educational programme designed to support the development of self-aware, vital, responsible and resilient adults) – placement of School Chaplain trainees with this program – http://theritejourney.com.au/

Existing VET units:

* Working with Loss and Grief 

HLTAHW509A         Respond to loss, grief and trauma           OR

CHCCS426A           Provide support and care relating to loss and grief

•  Pastoral Care

CHCPAS401A         Undertake pastoral care work - where the client = the  school student population

• Community Work

CHCCS4114            Work effectively in the Community Sector

Especially placement in 12-step programs eg Al-Anon and Alateen (for families of people with drinking problems, and other self-help groups

Also

There may be more appropriate units than the Core ones in the Youth Cert IV.

For example:

HCYTH301D            Work effectively with young people

Rather than CHCYTH402A

HLTHIR403B            Work effectively with culturally diverse clients and co-workers

CHCLD313A            Recognise Stages of Life Span Development

CHCDIS302A           Maintain an environment to empower people with disabilities

Are there any other comments you would like to make about the qualifications of chaplains?

1. The report does well to identify a number of the 'secular' takes or roles of a "chaplain" 

For example 


Prevention and early intervention, not counselling or treatment

 - support (emotional/spiritual) includes non-judgmental positive regard, client focus, good listening skills) 

 - 'problem' identification, referral (to appropriate resources for assessment and intervention - school and community) and follow-up (this aspect needs more focus)

 - liaising with community organisations 

 - being part of a well-being structure

 - carrying a sort of community identity (or 'bridge' between school, family and the wider community)


2.  The report identifies

- " providing parenting skills programs supporting imported student and family wellbeing"


This role is not one we would support. 

There are other community organisations that provide parenting skills training, and we would see the Chaplain’s role to refer those parents to those resources.


The report does not adequately address why a Chaplain – rather than school counsellor, youth worker, etc.

Primarily because at the end of the day whose needs is the Chaplain primarily there for?

* The young person or people  * the school * the family  * the government.

There is not a single answer, rather than the "chaplain" is a "bridge" between all four.

The focus though  primarily needs to be on what is the best for young people's development in the longer term, in the context of "for the good of all concerned" ( for the GO(o)D of all ?)

That's part of the reason why a "Chaplaincy Program" rather than a "Youth worker" program was established in the first place .


Hard to articulate – but a feeling that a Chaplain represents “living a  GOOD life – being honest, truthful, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you etc, being a “Good” person, having some good values and ethics” – that religion once used to teach young people, but that they don’t get anymore since Australia became so secular. Kids are not sent to Sunday School etc.


Behind this is the fact that Australian lacks a national well coordinated “Citizenship Program – another thing that teachers are some how expected to fit into their already heavy work load.

There is also an unspoken but obvious arrogance amongst people with strong religious beliefs that humanists, agnostics and atheists are somehow second class citizens;  that “without God, one can not be good/ godly”.

Fundamentalists of whatever religion do not understand that being skeptical or being a humanitarian may in fact be a more advanced stage of spiritual / religious growth, rather than a back sliding!


The Report says – “adequately support the social emotional and spiritual development of  all students”

This seems to be one of the few lines that encapsulates why a "Chaplain"

Unlike the clearer understanding of the role of civil celebrant vs religious celebrant, there is yet to be a clearer understanding of the role of a civil chaplain vs religious chaplain.

The word priest .. has been associated with Pontiff … which comes from "pont" meaning "bridge"

Originally seen as a bridge between 'Man and God", perhaps more recently, by psychologists as between "the conscious and un-conscious aspects" of one's being, perhaps by social workers as between "Humans and their society".

It's interesting that psyche - spirit or soul - is the basis of the psychology.

When look at this way, what are young people’s spiritual needs vs physical needs?

One definition may be that “spiritual” needs are those aspects of our beingness that are non-physical – need for affirmation, positive regard, appropriate self worth, good boundaries between self and others, to be heard, to be appreciated for one’s uniqueness, to be humble (as in down to earth), to support and be supported etc.

The issue  for young people that a 'chaplain" needs to address is

-   how to 'empower young people to take responsibility for the well-being of themselves and each other' whatever their personal back-ground


-   to educate that one is not to "blame" for the home or school environments one is in, nor for the genetic, physical and psychological makeup one has,

-   to educate one is responsible as a member of a community and wider society to respect the rights of others and one's behaviour as an adult.

-   how to lead by example which requires the School Chaplain to have a level of understanding and maturity that can see the good in other religions, and in all people, whether they have religious beliefs or not.

-   to be able to identify, and develop a value / ethical system that serves them and others to live a healthy, creative life in community with others.

-   inspire young people to live life more fully, creatively,  healthily and responsibly to self and others

Do you support the introduction of minimum standards for service providers under the program?

 Yes

What elements are most important for minimum standards for service providers? (you can select more than one option)


A Cert IV in School Chaplaincy, but these as the core units

• Role of School Chaplain

• Human rights, Discrimination and Citizenship

• Spirituality, Religion and Community

* Rites of Passage and Stages of Human Growth to Maturity

* Working with Loss and Grief 

CHCCS426A            Provide support and care relating to loss and grief

•  Pastoral Care

CHCPAS401A         Undertake pastoral care work - where the client = the  school student population

• Community Work

CHCCS4114            Work effectively in the Community Sector

Remember that people more qualified should be able to obtain recognised prior learning.

PLUS completing a placement / traineeship with The Rite Journey Program.

Are there any other comments you would like to make about the minimum standards for service providers?

The ability to critically examine religious/ spiritual belief systems against the value system of the Declaration of Human Rights.

Do you support the current arrangements which require schools to attempt to employ a chaplain before being able to employ a secular pastoral care worker?

NOT AT ALL.

This is discriminatory and contradictory in itself. If a School Chaplain is NOT there to represent a religion, nor to ‘evangelise” but to uphold the values our nation, agrees to be good (ie human rights, a fair go, etc). then one’s religion or lack of it is irrelevant !

That is why is is vital that this Review articulates and identifies the role and tasks of a School Chaplain that can be performed by both Civil Chaplains and Religious Chaplains  - then school communities can decide on the basis on the best person for their environment, not on how often the person reads the Koran or the Bible.

Do you support modification of the program to give schools the choice of a non-faith based support worker or youth worker?

YES DEFINITELY – SEE ABOVE

Again the “faulty” assumption here that a non-religious person has no faith ???

Every person operates on faith / belief systems about the world and their place in it.

The more important question is  “ Will this Chaplain inspire young people to live life more fully, creatively, healthily and responsibly to self and others? "

Are there any other comments you would like to make about the choice of support worker?

Primarily the person needs to accept that their religious beliefs can inform and motivate their desire to work for the good of others, but that their personal beliefs are secondary to the very important role of School Chaplain as an independent role model, facilitator, community developer, a support person, community liaison etc

What models of administration would support innovative delivery under the program?

1. Clear definition of role independent of, yet accounting for religious belief
2. Establishing a minimum Cert IV training with Core Units as above
3. Providing an on-line community support
4. Support the development of a Schools Chaplaincy Association
5. Establish a national conference structure
6. Look at ways to work with The Rite Journey and connections with the Civil Celebrancy sector.

What innovative models of delivery would support rural, remote and disadvantaged schools to maximise the effectiveness of funding they could receive under the program? (you can select more than one option)  Cluster models Pooled funding  Other: (please provide details)

Don’t know enough to comment.

Are there any other comments you would like to make about innovative delivery models?

Don’t know enough to comment.

Are there any other comments you would like to make about the program?

Australia has led the world in the development of civil celebrancy. School’s chaplaincy is an allied and very important aspect of that.

The Human Rights Consultation recommended that every Government program look at how the program could advance the understanding of human rights, the respect for differences and our responsibilities as citizens to hold those values.

The Rite Journey represents a practical spiritual strategy for assisting young people that is ecumenical or religious belief neutral. That’s why it's important from our perspective.

In the celebrancy field, we would like to see a Coming of Age Citizenship Ceremony for all 18 year olds as a ‘welcome to community” and Coming of Teenage ceremonies as part of the journey towards adulthood, and taking one’s place in society as a interdependent healthy person.

We see possibilities for common ground and government action that could enhance the Schools Chaplaincy Program. (But probably a separate submission in itself.)

Thanking you
Rona Goold, BSc(GenSc) Dpi Ed. CMC


Please note:
My personal background is as a High School Science Teacher, Alcohol and Other Drug Educator, Health Administrator, Community Worker and Civil Celebrant.

I would really value the opportunity to discuss the issues our Response raises especially as regards the nature of Spiritualty in Australian Society, Human Rights and the role of church / state in Australia and the articulation with the VET system.

I was on the IRG for the review of the training of Celebrants and consider the new Units recommended above

• Human rights, Discrimination and Citizenship

• Spirituality, Religion and Community -

• Rites of Passage and Stages of Human Growth to Maturity

would be units that would be very useful for the Certificate IV in Celebrancy.
Last modified on Friday, 09 September 2016 20:00