Each year approximately 700 children in Australia are diagnosed with cancer. Children often require a long recovery period as a result of demanding treatment such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant. A child with leukaemia recovering from a bone marrow transplant for example may be away from school for several years. Such a prolonged absence can have a significant effect on their schoolwork, their social and emotional well-being.
The Back on Track program keeps children and young people diagnosed with cancer connected educationally and socially with their school and peers. The program promotes the educational growth and social experience of students by linking them to their school and peer group using a wide range of systemic approaches that utilises a combination of face to face and communications technology to support human interaction and learning. The Fight Cancer Foundation Victoria provides funding for the Back on Track program, CHERI is the NSW state provider of the program and the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Education Institute, Melbourne, is the national coordinator and Victorian state provider of the program. The Back on Track program commenced at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in February 2006.