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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2663 asked in the Legislative Council on 31 October 2019 by Hon Alison Xamon

Question Directed to the: Minister for Environment representing the Minister for Corrective Services
Minister responding: Hon F.M. Logan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

I refer to research findings that up to 50 per cent of young people in the youth justice system have language and communication disorders, and I ask:
(a) does the Department of Justice fund the provision of any speech pathology services to young offenders;
(b) if no to (a), why not;
(c) if yes to (a), please advise:
(i) how many speech pathology FTE were funded in 2018-19;
(ii) where the speech pathology services were delivered; and
(iii) how many young people accessed these services in 2018-19;
(d) how many young people in Banksia Hill Detention Centre received speech pathology services in 2018-19;
(e) if none to (d), why;
(f) are children and young people in Banksia Hill Detention Centre screened or assessed for language and communication disorders;
(g) if no to (f), why not; and
(h) if yes to (f):
(i) how many children and young people were screened or assessed in 2018-19;
(ii) how many were found to have a language or communication disorder;
(iii) who undertook the screening; and
(iv) what follow up services were provided to each of these children and young people?

Answered on 5 December 2019

(a) The Department funds Children’s Court ordered assessments (e.g. to assess FASD) which may include a speech pathologist as part of the multi-disciplinary team completing the assessment. In addition if a young person is assessed by an onsite Doctor at Banksia Hill as requiring Speech Pathology then a referral will be made to an external service provider which if it is a public hospital will be free but if it is only available by a private provider it is funded by the Department.

(b) – (c) Not applicable.

(d) Nil.

(e) No young people were identified as requiring speech pathology services.

(f) – (h) (ii) Yes. Young people are screened or assessed for language and communication disorders through Children’s Court ordered neurodevelopmental assessments. Youth Justice Psychological Services facilitates the referral process. Screening for language and communication disorders forms part of the neurodevelopmental assessment however the Department does not record specific data pertaining to these disorders. During 2019 to date 27 young people detained at Banksia Hill Detention Centre were referred for a neurodevelopmental assessment.

(iii) Patches Paediatrics and Therapy Services, and Telethon Kids Institute.

(iv) Assessments are provided to the Children’s Court to assist in sentencing and the Department to assist in implementation of recommendations.  The Department will facilitate and support a young person and their family to access any recommended specialist services when required.