Back on Track Program
The Back on Track program was established in 2006 at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) and expanded in 2015 at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH); both hospitals are world-renowned for providing the best care for sick children and their families. The Cancer Centre for Children, CHW is the largest children's cancer unit in NSW. Last year the Centre provided treatment to 157 children newly diagnosed with cancer and to 60 children who relapsed. Kids Cancer Centre at SCH provides comprehensive service for children and adolescents with cancer and hematological diseases and accepts interstate and international patients for complex bone marrow transplants. There were 108 patients treated for various cancer conditions who underwent educational support.
The Children’s Hospital Education Research Institute (CHERI) at CHW provides clinical services that promote children’s health and wellbeing through improvements in the interface between health and education. Cancer and its treatment can have significant short and long-term effects on the physical, psychological, educational and social functioning of children. Children can spend up to two years away from school while undergoing treatment for cancer. The ‘Back on Track’ program is overseen by CHERI has been operating for more than 15 years and keeps students diagnosed with cancer educationally and socially connected with their school and peers.
The program employs Education Program Coordinators, who are qualified and dedicated schoolteachers, who work with school aged children from the time of diagnosis until they return to school. Implementation of educational and social support occurs across the hospital, home, and school settings, in partnership with the family, the hospital and school staff. The program provides a link between the student and the school, thereby bridging the gap. The program’s holistic approach enables the student’s school, family, friends and medical team work together to get the student ‘back on track’. Education Program Coordinators deliver the Back on Track program to children referred to the Cancer Centre for Children, CHW and the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.
Waratah Education Foundation were delighted to award funding to the Back on Track program for the next 3 years and are looking forward to a great relationship with the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.