Page 428 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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(3) Why has the Official Visitor had to, once again, raise concerns about the suitability of the placement of some children and young people at Marlow Cottage, p 316.

(4) What is the Directorate doing to address this concern so that it does not arise again.

(5) Why is the high-level needs facility located next door to Marlow Cottage still not operational, p 316, despite a tender being proposed to be conducted in 2010.

Ms Burch: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

1) The allocation of administrative responsibility is properly a matter for Government. The Government response to recommendation 15.11 of the Human Rights Commission Report into Bimberi and the Youth Justice System, which dealt with re-location of the Official Visitor, was to note the recommendation. There are funding implications relating to the re-location, and these implications need to be considered in the budget context taking into account competing funding priorities.

2) When a young person leaves Marlow without permission and of their own accord Marlow staff notify Care and Protection Services and police to report the young person as missing.

The Official Visitor annual report states they are satisfied with the procedures currently in place. They advise ”the procedures in terms of informing the police and Care and Protection has been provided to the Official Visitor who is satisfied with the processes undertaken when young people run away and the action taken as outlined in the Safety Plan”.

Marlow and Care and Protection Services staff communicate to young people about the risks and compromised safety that the young person may experience when they abscond from their placement.

3) There continues to be a shortage of foster carers and kinship carers for young people in Canberra which results in the use of Marlow for young people.

4) Foster Care agencies continue to advertise seeking to recruit new foster carers.

The Community Services Directorate has engaged in discussions with a local provider to increase the availability of foster care placements by 30.

Work has commenced on the development of the ‘Reception Centre’. A property has been secured and fitted out with linen, bedding, furniture and other necessities.

5) I refer the member to Question No: 1606 on this matter which I answered on 5 May 2011. Work on the service model is nearing completion, following this, the Directorate will undertake a procurement process to identify a suitable entity to operate the facility.

Children—childcare centres
(Question No 1942)

Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for Community Services, upon notice, on 7 December 2011:

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