The Halls Creek community today welcomed the opening of a $2.2million hostel to provide care and accommodation for local children at risk of neglect or abuse.
Child Protection Minister Sue Ellery said the completion of stage two of the Halls Creek Hostel was further evidence of the Carpenter Government’s commitment to strengthening child protection.
“Stage two of the Halls Creek Hostel will provide a place of sanctuary for older children in the community who are vulnerable,” Ms Ellery said.
“Today is the culmination of a partnership effort between the Government and local groups in Halls Creek to make sure children are safe and well looked after, and I am very happy to see the hostel now fully completed.”
The refurbished building, which was previously used as an educational facility, can accommodate up to 12 children aged between six and 15 years. It is an addition to the existing hostel that catered for up to eight children aged up to five years.
Ms Ellery said the building and grounds of the new hostel were developed with the children in mind, as well as the need for interaction between children and their parents.
“The aim has been to provide quality care that is culturally appropriate and involves parents wherever possible,” Ms Ellery said.
“Parents are invited to a barbecue on Sunday evenings with staff and the children, and the hostel provides facilities for parents and relatives to use during access visits.
“There are substantial outside play areas, two internal living areas where children can play and the seven bedrooms are bright and spacious.”
Central Kimberley-Pilbara MLA Tom Stephens said the completed hostel would ensure local children were given the best possible start in life.
“With the first stage up and running in September last year, Halls Creek now has a safe place for up to 20 local children to go if they are at-risk or not being cared for properly,” Mr Stephens said.
Kimberley MLA Carol Martin said once fully operational, the Halls Creek Hostel would employ 22 staff, most of whom would be local indigenous people.
“It is very important that the children who live in this hostel retain their links with the local community - that is why we are seeking local indigenous staff,” Mrs Martin said.
“At the moment, 17 of the hostel’s staff are local indigenous people. This also brings the obvious advantage of providing more jobs for people who live in and around Halls Creek.”
Total State Government funding for the Halls Creek Hostel totalled more than $3million and construction was fast-tracked by the Department of Housing and Works.
Ms Ellery said the Department for Child Protection’s Responsible Parenting Program would operate at the hostel from mid-year to give parents the skills they needed to care properly for their children.
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