New home for service

Youthbeat program manager Ciara Crotty.d412402
Youthbeat program manager Ciara Crotty.d412402

The youth at risk service run through Mission Australia is expected to move into its Palmerston Street offices in January after a two-year search for a central site.

The current facility is 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 the 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 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 caseworkers.

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

Ms Crotty said the average age of children being brought to the service had dropped from 15-16 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 each day.

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 the surrounding streets,’ she said.