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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 17 February 2011) . . Page.. 295 ..

interested in that. Some parents prefer mainstream access through traditional after-school care programs. But it is something that I am actively looking at.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what representations have you received from families requesting such services?

MS BURCH: I have been approached by and had conversations with a number of families, as I have said, who are interested in this but also interested in maintaining access to mainstream after-school care as well. This is why, as I have said, I have commissioned a piece of work to look at a business case for this.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, have you received representations from distressed families expressing their inability to continue to care for their children due to insufficient care support programs and post-school options? If yes, what are you doing to address those concerns?

MS BURCH: I get a number of representations from families across a range of things, because their priority is their child. I do what I can to respond to that. We have got strong post-school options in place. We are commissioning some work for after-school care. We continue to support where we can. Just this week we announced our commitment to establish an intentional community. That is a result of groups coming to us looking for alternative accommodation models. This is a government that does respond to those pressure points as we can.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, what is the timetable for this work that you have commissioned and how often have you met with the minister for education to liaise around the issue of those school leavers?

MS BURCH: We are actively seeking the commission now, so I would imagine that that is a three to six-month piece of work, preferably shorter, so that we can plan into the future. As far as conversations with my colleague the minister for education are concerned, DET have put out quite a comprehensive policy and strategy around how they are responding to children with disability within their schools. There is collaboration and a cooperative dialogue between the two departments about how we do those transitions post school. So this is something that is active between us as colleagues. But the work sits, in many ways, with the department to make sure that they are aligned—the transitional program. DHCS have met with all the families that are transitioning out of Black Mountain school in the many months before. We do not wait until December or February for those conversations to happen.

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