CHILD PROTECTION —
VULNERABLE CHILDREN — MERREDIN
598. Hon RICK MAZZA to the Leader of the House representing
the Minister for Child Protection:
I refer to the lack of resources, including
the availability of respite and temporary foster carers, for vulnerable
school-age children in the regional of town of Merredin.
(1) Is the
minister aware of local children, already traumatised by dysfunctional family
dynamics, being sent away from their schools, teachers and friends in order to
access appropriate foster care?
(2) If yes to
(1), has the impact of the removal of a child or children from their community
been assessed by mental health practitioners?
(3) Given that a concerned
foster parent in Merredin has approached the Department of Communities, hoping to establish a crisis centre to cater for children
requiring short-term care, has the minister given consideration to this
(4) If no to (3),
can the minister confirm that the department has received any communication to
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
Department of Communities aims to keep children in their local area and
maintain children's connection with family support networks and school
where possible. The purpose of out-of-home care is to provide children with
stable, nurturing care that enables them to heal from the trauma that they have
experienced. Some children need to move to have a suitable care arrangement
that meets their individual needs. The Department of Communities supports
children with this transition and ensures that planning is undertaken to
maintain connections with the important people in their lives. The Department
of Communities funds a family group home in Merredin. This service supports
children in care being able to remain in the local area.
(2) The Department of Communities undertakes
comprehensive assessments to make evidence-based decisions in the best
interests of the child, which may include individualised mental health
(3)–(4) In November 2019, a foster carer made inquiries to
Communities about setting up a group home in Merredin for children in
care, with specialist staff. The Department of Communities advised that a family
group home was already in operation in Merredin. The Department of Communities
has existing contractual arrangements with community-based service providers
for the provision of family group homes across the state. These agreements are
entered into following thorough and transparent procurement processes.