RAE Young has spent more than 30 years supporting thousands of WA families at our children’s hospitals.
Ms Young, a Floreat local, is the director of the Children’s Hospital Child Care Centre, and is set to retire on August 10.
“It’s been the most amazing job; in amongst all the upheavals and challenges, every day has been a beautiful journey,” she said.
She began her career as a student nurse at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in 1970 before training as a midwife at King Edward Memorial Hospital, working in Kalgoorlie, and then moving into child health, with a three-month position at Ngala that turned into three years.
She was appointed to the steering committee for a childcare centre at PMH.
The centre opened its doors in January 1986, with 32 places for children based at Godfrey House.
“It was unique and hadn’t ever been done before,” she said.
“We opened at seven in the morning and closed at 10 o’clock at night.”
The centre cared for children of hospital staff, children with complex medical needs and siblings of patients.
It moved to a purpose-built location in 1990, which it occupied until moving to Perth Children’s Hospital.
“Over the years, there’s been so many challenges,” Ms Young said.
“In the late ‘80s we nearly closed because we didn’t have enough funding, and literally at the 11th hour PMH rescued us and we got some money from Health to keep us going.
“When PCH was being developed, we realised we weren’t on the plan; we really had to fight for it.”
Now, with the centre safe and secure in its new home, Ms Young feels ready to move on.
“This is my baby, really,” she said.
“Since 2011 when we went to see [previous Health Minister Kim Hames] for the first time, I was determined to see this through; I’ve left a part of myself here.
“I feel like I’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s.”
Ms Young said the centre had come full circle, now looking after some of the children of children who had themselves been cared for back at the PMH child care centre.
“It’s beautiful to meet little babies and watch them grow into capable and competent little people,” she said.
“I feel privileged to have been part of all these people’s lives.”