Improving literacy for vulnerable children

20 Mar 2023

Improving literacy for vulnerable children featured image

Olivia Samec, a West Australian-based Education Officer with significant experience in working with children in state care, is today travelling to Austria, Italy, the United Kingdom and the USA to investigate innovative initiatives and programs for promoting literacy and well-being of children in state care.

Olivia was awarded the WA Department of Communities Churchill Fellowship.

‘Children in state care are more likely to suffer drug addiction, homelessness, mental illness and incarceration so my project aims to improve access and engagement with early intervention literacy,’ Ms Samec said.

Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Trust, congratulated Olivia on her Fellowship. ‘Improved educational outcomes for children in state care improves their life outcomes and Olivia’s project will encompass innovative programs that have the potential to empower and transform lives,’ said Mr Davey. ‘Her Fellowship will enable her to drive social change by focusing on literacy and breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty, dysfunction and crime.’

‘Olivia’s project can lead to improved access and engagement with early intervention literacy and well-being for children most in need,’ added Mr Davey.

Melanie Samuels, Deputy Director General Community Services with the WA Department of Communities, is fully supportive of Olivia’s project. ‘Olivia will be collaborating with world leaders to develop networks, share information and implement solutions for vulnerable and at-risk children in Australia,’ Ms Samuels said. “By focusing on solutions to improve early literacy, the project has the potential to enable individuals and families to live better lives.”

Ms Samec will be using her Fellowship to investigate leading innovative child-focused education programs so she can evaluate the effectiveness of a successful book parcel program for children in state care. “It’s a valuable opportunity to gather knowledge about resources to engage vulnerable and at-risk children,’ said Ms Samec. ‘It’ll enable me to investigate successful management practices for a large-scale book parcel program.’

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