Settling Well: Evaluation of a schools-based support program for refugees and asylum seeker young people in Geelong

This project evaluated CatholicCare Victoria’s Geelong-based Settle Well program – a holistic school-based program that facilitates the transition to further education, training or employment for young refugees and asylum seekers at risk of disengagement from school and community life.

The evaluation sought to understand the extent to which the Settle Well program has been effective in improving the well-being and connectedness of participants, enhancing their educational, social and communal engagement, and contributing to social cohesion and community harmony in northern Geelong.

The evaluation found that Settle Well contributes positively to participants' wellbeing and to their connectedness to school and community life during their schooling years. The majority of past student participants reported that Settle Well helped them to form friendships, stay involved with life inside and outside of school, and boost their sense of belonging in their community.

The report also provides evidence of longer-term positive impacts to educational, social, and communal engagement, and to social cohesion and community harmony, suggesting that Settle Well plays an important role in assisting with the resettlement and adjustment of asylum seekers and refugee young people in Victoria.

The research also revealed the integral role played by the Program Coordinator in supporting and providing pathways for students. Past students reported that he was pivotal in assisting them to be job ready, choose an appropriate career pathway and achieve long-term goals in career and education. They also reported that the Program Coordinator helped them to feel welcome and confident, which enhanced their mental health, general wellbeing and connectedness with school and community life.

The report recommends that greater promotion, visibility and resourcing of the program will further enhance the positive intervention the program provides to refugee and asylum seeker young people in Geelong.


Settling Well: Evaluation of a schools-based support program for refugees and asylum seeker young people in Geelong.


CatholicCare Victoria

Project team
  • Mr Chris McNamara - Senior Manager, Community Services, CatholicCare Victoria
  • Mr Nestor Estampa - Geelong Settle Well Program Coordinator, CatholicCare Victoria
  • Ms Bernadette Garcia - Executive Manager, Communications, Fundraising and Marketing, CatholicCare Victoria
  • Dr Joel Anderson - School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, ACU
  • Mr Paul Chalkley - National School of Arts and Humanities, ACU
  • Sr Thuy-Linh Nguyen - Peter Faber Business School, ACU
  • Dr Jill Cox, ACU Engagement
  • Ms Vivien Cinque, ACU Engagement

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