Australian Baptist Ministries welcomes the Abbott Government’s delivery on its election promise to strengthen support for school chaplaincy by allocating $245 million to chaplaincy programs in about 2900 schools over the next four years.

Former Prime Minister John Howard launched the National School Chaplaincy Program in 2007. The program was continued by subsequent Labor governments and expanded to allow schools to appoint non-religious chaplains. The new regulations require chaplains to be accredited by recognised faith communities.

“School chaplaincy deserves strong community and government support,” Director of National Ministries for Australian Baptist Ministries, the Reverend Keith Jobberns, said in response to the announcement of increased funding for school chaplaincy by Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey in his budget speech on Tuesday.

“Children and young people need positive role models and strong values. School chaplains help kids to develop skills and strategies to break negative cycles in their lives. They build relationships with students and staff, and contribute to the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of the school community,” Reverend Jobberns said.

“Schools overwhelmingly recognise the value of the chaplaincy program, and Baptists around the nation strongly support the benefits delivered by chaplaincy in the lives of students. Australian Baptist Ministries welcomes the federal government’s strong funding commitment to school chaplaincy,” he said.