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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2409 asked in the Legislative Council on 20 August 2019 by Hon Alison Xamon

Question Directed to the: Leader of the House representing the Minister for Child Protection
Minister responding: Hon S.F. McGurk
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

I refer to children in out of home care who are not in a foster, residential or secure care placement, and I ask:
(a) in 2018-19, how many children and young people were placed into alternative care arrangements including:
(i) hotels or motels;
(ii) short stay apartments; and
(iii) other alternative care arrangements;
(b) will the Minister please advise the nature of any arrangements in (a)(iii);
(c) how long did children and young people in out of home care spend in alternative care arrangements in 2018-19;
(d) what was the total cost of the arrangements from (c);
(e) how many of the children placed in alternative care arrangements in 2018-19 are Aboriginal; and
(f) how many of the children who spent time in alternative care arrangements in 2018-19 were:
(i) under 12 months of age;
(ii) between 12 months and under five years of age;
(iii) between five years and under 10 years of age;
(iv) between 10 years and under 15 years of age; and
(v) between 15 and under 18 years of age?

Answered on 24 September 2019

(a)   – (f) The alternative care arrangements referred to, including hotels or motels, short stay apartments and other alternate care arrangements, are considered emergency accommodation arrangements, not care arrangements by the Department of Communities (Communities).

Details on the matters that lead to such emergency accommodation arrangements are recorded in individual case notes on each case file. Therefore, the number of children in these arrangements, and the details of these arrangements, are not readily available from Communities’ client information system.

There are rare occasions where children in the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO’s) care and their carers may require emergency accommodation at a hotel or other type of short term accommodation for reasons including:

  • when children and their carers need to travel to a location for medical treatment, or to maintain connection with family
  • property damage at the carer’s home, or
  • another unforeseen crisis.

Where a child is brought into the CEO’s care in an urgent situation, particularly after hours, a hotel or other short stay accommodation may be used to enable the child to remain with a suitable family member or carer in a safe environment until stable accommodation is arranged.

Children in the CEO’s care may also be in other accommodation arrangements for various reasons, such as boarding school, hospital or detention. In addition, older children in the CEO’s care may self-select to live with family members that are not approved carers. In these instances, the Communities’ child protection worker will assess the accommodation arrangement as a matter of priority.