Service move to see up to 15 clients each weekend

Youthbeat Service Manager Ciara Crotty
Youthbeat Service Manager Ciara Crotty

The youth at-risk service is expected to move into its Palmerston Street offices this month after a two-year search for a central site.

The current facility is located in Cannington, where young people found unaccompanied on the streets after 10pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are taken before being placed in the care of parents, guardians or with the Department of Child Protection (DCP).

Last year, the City of Vincent approved the use of an old warehouse for the service.

It was previously located in Northbridge but was forced to move to allow for the Perth City Link development.

Program manager Ciara Crotty said that since the service started operating 12 years ago, it had seen a drop in the number of young people at the facility, with an average of 10 to 15 children brought there each weekend.

‘We are here to pick up the kids who slip through the gap in care,’ she said.

Police will bring young people found unaccompanied anywhere in Perth and thought to be at risk to the site, process them, and then pass them to DCP case workers.

Mission Australia staff provide the young people with food, drinks and a psycho-social assessment to find out what is happening in the young person’s life that may prompt further investigation.

Ms Crotty said the average age of children being brought to the service had dropped from 15 to 16 to 14-years-old, while the youngest person Mission Australia found sleeping rough in Perth was 11-years-old.

The organisation’s outreach program will also run from the Northbridge site.

Mission Australia WA State director Melissa Perry said young people who were acting violently or affected by drugs or alcohol would not be taken to the facility.

‘The WA Police and Crisis Care will also be based at the premises, which we believe will act as a deterrent for anti-social behaviour in surrounding streets,’ she said.