The Vacation Care school holiday activity program, funded by the State Government, could be expanded to include teenagers, particularly those with special needs.
Community Services and Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper said today he wanted vacation care programs for primary schoolchildren, funded jointly with the Commonwealth, to be available beyond the current cut-off age.
During the July school holidays now underway, vacation care benefited thousands of Western Australian families at 92 different locations across the State, but ceased for children once they turned 12.
The program funded community groups to provide enriching, supervised activities for primary schoolchildren with working parents. These activities included art and craft, indoor games, excursions and other group activities which helped the social development and broadened the experience of children.
"I am investigating with the Commonwealth, the Department for Community Services and the Bureau for Disability Services, the possibility of expanding these services to include teenagers, particularly those with disabilities," Mr Ripper said.
"Some young people with disabilities would benefit from these expanded services for one or two years past the age of 12, due to their higher support needs."
The Minister today presented a certificate of commendation to the City of Stirling's children's services section, which co-ordinated the Yokine Primary School vacation care program.
The award recognised achievements in integrated school holiday programs for children with disabilities.
The Minister said that $50,000 had been provided this year to integrate children with disabilities into the Vacation Care Program, funded by the Department for Community Services.
New funding arrangements, which worked to use resources more effectively, had already enabled more than one hundred children with disabilities to access school holiday activities this year.
Mr Ripper said that, during the July break, the special integration funding would mean at least 22 services across the Perth metropolitan area, and in Geraldton, Albany and Kalgoorlie, would involve children with disabilities.
Under the system, the independent Resource Unit for Children with Special Needs (RUCSN) assessed the support needs of individual children and matched children with existing services in their local community.
"People in the children's services section of the City of Stirling are some of the quiet achievers who work to providing services with a minimum of fuss and fanfare," Mr Ripper said.
"I will be working hard to ensure increased funding to ensure a fair go for children with disabilities, to enable them to achieve their optimum development. This includes access to school holiday programs."