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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 November 2014) . . Page.. 4082 ..

Over 700 staff across the ACT government and community sectors attended training opportunities in the 12 months up to November 2014. Melaleuca Place has hosted a range of specialist trainers and guest speakers, including Mary Jo McVeigh, Kim Golding from the United Kingdom, the Lighthouse Institute, the Australian Childhood Trauma Group and international renowned expert, Dave Ziegler, from Jasper Mountain in the US.

Melaleuca Place has made available a number of information resources to assist those supporting children and young people who have experienced trauma, such as the child development and trauma guides adapted from the Victorian Department of Human Services. These guides assist practitioners to understand typical developmental pathways of children and recognise indicators of trauma at different ages and stages.

A discussion paper about the development of a trauma-informed service is available, along with other fact sheets, newsletters, journal articles and the keynote address from the launch of Melaleuca Place in July this year.

Melaleuca Place, in partnership with the Australian Childhood Foundation, has been providing the graduate certificate in developmental trauma to 19 participants since June 2014. This course provides a postgraduate specialist qualification for those working with children who have experienced abuse, trauma and violence. The course will finish by February 2015. This will mean that 19 professionals in our human services, health and education sectors will have specialist qualifications to inform their work with children and young people.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how has your directorate partnered with the University of Canberra in the landscaping design at Melaleuca Place and what significance has this for the therapeutic programs?

MR GENTLEMAN: I am very excited about the partnership that has developed between Melaleuca Place and the University of Canberra, which engaged in a six-week project to design a landscaped garden concept where children can spend time outdoors as part of the therapeutic program at Melaleuca Place. This interdisciplinary project involved 45 students from both the landscape architecture course in the Faculty of Arts and Design and occupational therapy students in the Faculty of Health’s Master of Occupational Therapy program. Eight student groups showcased their projects, which comprised physical models of the landscape design concepts and visual proposals, including site plans.

A key aim of Melaleuca Place was to create a safe environment in which children and young people, their families and carers can build effective, therapeutic relationships. The design of the outdoor space builds on what has been achieved to date in the fit-out of the indoor space. The significance of the designs for the outdoor space is multiple. The designs create an outdoor environment that is safe and soothing. This is integral to children who have experienced trauma, as they need to establish safety before they can begin processing the trauma that they have experienced. The designs also provide opportunities for sensory experiences which help children learn about their world and encourage their cognitive development.

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