ACL has today lodged a submission with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, which was seeking community input into a discussion paper on the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP).



Although the chaplaincy program has widespread community support, as demonstrated in the discussion paper, it does have a number of detractors, who have sought to undermine the tremendous work undertaken by chaplains in thousands of Australian schools as a direct result of the program.



In responding to the discussion paper, ACL took the opportunity to reinforce the positive contribution made by chaplains in their school communities, and to dispel some of the criticisms raised of them, mostly by critics who hold an ideological opposition to religious workers operating in state schools.



Contrary to some claims, chaplains are well-qualified for the tasks they perform. They perform a different but complementary role to that of secular workers in schools, such as counsellors and psychologists. These other valuable roles are already funded through separate streams, and can be expanded, but not by encroaching on the NSCP.



With the consultation closing today, there are still opportunities for churches to show their support for chaplaincy by registering for the National Day of Prayer for School Chaplains, to be held on Sunday, March 1. This is an important initiative at a time when the whole program is under threat from a challenge in the High Court.



To learn more about the High Court challenge and to find out what you can do to support the chaplaincy program, please visit supportschoolchaplains.com.au, an initiative of Scripture Union Queensland.