Up to 100 young people, who are at risk a year with social, emotional or behavioural problems, will benefit from a purpose built assessment centre opened in Stoneville today by Family and Children’s Services Minister Rhonda Parker.
“The Kath French Centre is a new way of responding to the needs of young people at risk, aged from 10 to 17, who are unable to live at home or have frequently been in and out of care,” Mrs Parker said.
“Staff will assess the individual needs of up to eight young people at a time. They will stay for up to six weeks.
“This will include an assessment of support services required to better respond to any family relationship issue, to special education needs, to possible mental health or general health requirements, accommodation issues, or any treatment needs for drug addiction.”
Mrs Parker said the centre would give young people and their families the opportunity they need to review their situation and assess the services they require to help them achieve a better balance in their life.
“The aim is to develop a package of support services for an individual young person, including referral to appropriate placement options, to maximise their chance to lead a more stable and satisfying life style.
“Complemented by dedicated services at three other hostels, the $2.2 million adolescent assessment centre at Stoneville will allow for a far more comprehensive response to the needs of young people at risk.
“The young residents will not be enrolled in local schools as the facility, in a semi-rural setting, has self-contained education and support services.
“The intensive assessment of young peoples’ individual needs will include an educational assessment and the development of an educational plan for each young person.
“An educational support worker will be at the centre to ensure that this plan is implemented.
“The Kath French Centre is based on the success of similar facilities in other parts of the world.”
The centre is on the site of the former Hillston Boys Farm.
“The Shire of Mundaring has been working with Family and Children’s Services to ensure the community hall and heritage listed chapel on the site remain accessible by the community, while maintaining the privacy of the young people.
“The department will continue to work closely with the community and the council to develop a community access process.”
The Minister said it was appropriate to name the centre after the late Kath French AM who devoted her life to assisting others in the community.
“Mrs French’s commitment to community service in the fields of child welfare, the arts, health, science and women’s issues remained constant up until her death in 1994,” Mrs Parker said.
Staff training will commence at the centre in the next few weeks with the centre fully operational early in the new year.
Media contact: Owen Cole 9481 7810