were another form of residential, out-of-home accommodation available to young
people in Western Australia. At
various times, and in various ways, hostels provided different functions for
different groups of residents. While the
roles of the hostels changed over time, they were designed to meet two basic
needs: to accommodate young people near
their place of schooling or employment; and to provide supported accommodation
to children who were in need of care or respite from a difficult family or
foster situation. In 1990, for example,
hostels provided three components of residential care: educational hostels accommodated primary and
secondary students from isolated areas and Indigenous communities, in regional
areas; metropolitan educational hostels provided what was essentially a
boarding service with educational support to Indigenous high school and
tertiary students; and country emergency hostels provided crisis accommodation
and short term placement support for young people in regional areas who had
been placed in care by the Department. Department for Community Services TRIM
Administration File KC 006701.
times, hostels had been classified as either treatment and training hostels,
community support hostels, or education and employment hostels. These are described below.
Treatment and Training Hostels
Young people admitted to these hostels were
those who required “a degree of support, supervision, training or continued
treatment that is not available in other boarding situations. In some cases,
the family is within reach but unable to provide the necessary type or degree
of contact.” “All children living at the
hostels work in the metropolitan area.” Annual Report of the Department for
Community Welfare, June 30th 1973.
supervision or other needs of the child is considered before placement at a
hostel – most children are the subject of assessment in a Departmental institution
before placement in a hostel. In some cases, a boy or girl has had a period of
treatment or training at a treatment institution before living at the hostel.
In these latter cases, the hostel staff work co-operatively with the treatment
institution staff in supervising the child’s progress, with the possibility of
re-admission to the treatment institution if necessary.” “All boys or girls at
a hostel have been assigned to the case-load of a field officer of this
Department, sometimes also to an Honorary Probation Officer, before their
assessment and admission to the hostel.”
Annual Report of the Department for Community Welfare, June 30th 1973.
assessment institutions of Walcott and Bridgewater were being phased out in the
1980’s, it was envisaged that children would, where possible, be cared for in a
family setting. Where that was not
appropriate, seven hostels in the metropolitan area would accommodate these
young people. Annual Report of the
Department for Community Welfare, June 30th
1984, Community Support Hostels supplanted the treatment and training hostels.
Community Support Hostels
riding focus” of the new Community Support Hostel system “was that of
care. Children coming into the hostels
would be involved in care/welfare issues as compared to Justice concerns.” It was noted at the time that the
“understanding and acceptance of this at both practical and conceptual levels
within the Department and in the general community is still to be
consolidated.” Annual Report of the
Department for Community Welfare, June 30th
the Annual Report indicated there were seven Community Support Hostels in the
Perth metropolitan area, and their
individual roles and goals were “varied, complex and often quite different in
nature.” However, the “basic aim” of the
Community Support Hostel system was to “identify and understand problems being
experienced [by the children admitted to them], then to provide support and direction
towards re-establishing routine involvement in community activities.” At the same time, the hostel staff emphasised
“behavioural stabilisation and training to increase the chances of success in
activities involvement and subsequent placements.” Within the community, Group Workers, Home
School Support Staff and nursing personnel, in conjunction with Departmental
field staff, proffered a similar approach from a preventive aspect – in order
to “keep to a minimum the number of children needing to be admitted to
Hostels.” (Annual Report of the
Department for Community Services, June 30th 1985.) During the 1985/86 year, this amounted to 491
By 1986, it was possible to report that admissions to the Community
Support Hostels generally resulted from “drug abuse, parent/child conflict,
offending, or chronic non attendance at school.” The service aimed to “build self esteem,
then, in conjunction with field services and other agencies, support children
at home or in other placements.” A
Training Coordinator attached to the service facilitated “specialised training
for hostel staff to ensure an efficient and effective care service.” In 1986, the “operation and function” of the
hostels were under review, with particular attention being paid to issues of
“client need, services provided, management structures, and communication and
co-ordination both within and outside the Department.” Annual Report of the Department for
Community Services, June 30th 1986.
In 1987, it was reported that “children on arrest or remand who cannot
return home” were also admitted to Community Support Hostels. Indeed, the increase of 100 children admitted
to the Community Support Hostel system in the 1987 year compared to the
previous year, was due to the “number of children referred for justice
reasons.” Annual Report of the
Department for Community Services, June 30th
That same year, in response to an
Inter-Departmental “Residential Planning Review”, which took a very broad look,
from a town and regional planning perspective, at the types of accommodation
that would be required by the people of Western Australia in future years, the
Department described the operation of the Community Support Hostels: “The Department’s seven Community Support
Hostels are all metropolitan-based, providing accommodation at each hostel for
up to 8 children, of ages 6 to 17 years.
Caregivers work rotating shifts; they do not live-in. At least one officer is on duty at all hours
with additional staff member at busy times.
Community Support Hostels provide short term accommodation for children
whose behaviour and family situation is such that they are unable to remain in
their usual residential setting for the present.” Submission of the Department for
Community Services to the Residential Planning Review Taskforce, March 31st 1987.
In 1988, a sense of the problems faced by children entering the
Community Support Hostel system was made evident when it was reported that a
“review of Community Support Hostels proposed a reorganisation of services to
enhance continuity of residential and community support services. The introduction of a Clinical Psychologist
into the Programme will improve the level of support to staff who are working
with substantially disturbed children.”
This was one of a number of recommendations from the review which were
endorsed by the Department in November 1987.
“The service will provide both accommodation and
Hostels will be categorised as either short term or medium term.
Admissions to hostels solely on the basis of the Justice process are
inappropriate, and will be reduced as alternatives are developed.
Non-residential services will be developed to ensure a continuity of
support following residence.”
time, there were six hostels operating, three short- and three medium-term, and
two residential support teams for educational activities and general placement,
respectively. (Annual Report of the
Department for Community Services, June 30th 1988).
the Annual Report provide a breakdown of the reasons why children had entered
community support hostels in that year, indicating that justice system-related
reasons for admission were persisting, even though they had decreased from 1988
due to Longmore Remand Centre taking more of the pre-Court and remand admissions. Indeed, notwithstanding the decreases, these
comprised the majority of admissions to Community Support Hostels in 1989,
around 77% in total (48% being pre-Court related and 29% being young people on
remand). Temporary placement (9%),
parent-child conflict (7%) and foster placement breakdown (4%) provided the
other main reasons for admission in that year.
(Annual Report of the Department for Community Services, June 30th
interesting development affecting admissions policy occurred in 1990. With a sense of bowing to the inevitable, the
Department reversed its stated (1988) position that admissions to hostels for
juvenile justice-related reasons were inappropriate and instituted a new policy
whereby some youngsters in the pre-Court phase - “minor offenders up to 13
years of age on bail” – would be placed in either hostels or emergency foster
care, a move “which avoids the need for them to be held overnight in secure
centres.” In concert with this, a new
role of the Juvenile Justice Program was “operating hostels for those who have
no appropriate accommodation, but have been allowed bail.” From November 1989 to June 30th 1990, “23 very young minor offenders” were
“diverted from custody under this scheme.” (Annual Report of the Department
for Community Services, June 30th 1990).
Support Hostels also provided ‘outreach’ type services, where officers worked
with young people to try and prevent their re-entry into the hostel
system. In 1989/90, for example, 47
“young people experiencing severe conflict with their family/caregiver and who
were likely to be placed in or return to hostel care” were given family and
individual support to try and maintain their place within the family or
placement. A further 33 children “who
had experienced educational difficulties” were assisted by staff attached to
the Hostels “with the aim of integration back into school or a transition to
training and employment.” (Annual
Report of the Department for Community Services, June 30th 1990).
the Annual Report indicated that 47 “young people experiencing severe conflict
with their family/caregiver” were assisted by the Community Support Hostel
services and an additional 54 young people “with educational difficulties were
assisted with the aim of integration back into school or a transition to
training and employment.” In addition,
the review of “services offered by hostels has led to an increased
specialisation in programs targeting young offenders who are referred to these
of Community Support Hostels and the McCall Centre [see entry in this
Directory] programs, services, roles and administration also commenced in 1991
with the aims of:
“Assessing the appropriateness of the programs in terms of their
responsiveness to the needs of the current clientele;
Identifying and examining the issues and difficulties with existing
programs, including gaps in service, and to make recommendations on new
services which could be provided and alternate models of care which would be
more appropriate for the clients serviced; and
Developing a suitable organisational structure tailored to the services
Report of the Department for Community Services, June 30th 1991).
the Community Support Hostels were either McCall Hostels or Country Support
Hostels. McCall Hostels [McCall itself, Kyewong, Tudor Lodge, Darlington
Lodge, see entries in this Directory] were “based on a staffing model where
staff are DCD employees and live in.
There are also two support staff working on roster to back support and
provide relief. The centre tends to pick
up the more behaviourally difficult children and accepts 24 hour responsibility
for them. The Centre also works with the
parents. It has three residential units
and an on-campus semi-supported arrangement for older adolescents. Social workers are employed, as well as
psychologists.” Country Support Hostels were staffed by carers who were
professional staff and employees of the Department. “These Hostels have a manager…who normally
lives in, and an assistant manager…There are also Hostel assistants…and domestic
support may be employed. Staff are
rostered to cover [approximately] 16 hours per day. Carers receive a salary.” (OHAC Cost Project, Department for Community Services, June 1995).
Education and Employment Hostels
hostels were operated by or in association with the Native Welfare Department”
before the establishment of the Community Welfare Department (effective 1
when responsibility for the hostels was transferred to the new Department) and
the hostels generally continued to serve their initial purpose. Almost all of the young people resident in
these hostels were of Indigenous background.
“Most hostels accommodate children who attend school or some course of
training. Some are for working boys and girls and a few for other purposes.
Almost half the hostels are outside the metropolitan area, enabling practise of
the Department’s policy not to bring people to the metropolitan area unless
their needs for employment or education cannot be met in their home
districts…The gains from education or other training may thus be available not
only to the individual but to the local community to which that person
belongs.” Accommodation while in education or training while the main, was not
the sole function of these hostels. “The
wider responsibility includes providing extended social experiences and
influences and thus opportunities to develop more fully the skills and
confidence required to function in Australian society.” Annual Report of the Department for
Community Welfare, June 30th 1973.
location of these hostels was not a matter of accident. “In areas outside the major population
centres facilities for education and employment are often limited and young people
in these areas may not have the opportunity of developing to their full
potential. The provision of education and employment hostels is one way in
which this situation may be overcome.”
“Although the policy is to provide accommodation as close to the children’s
homes as possible, the location of the hostels is largely determined by the
availability of schools, technical centres and employment opportunities.
Additional hostels are planned for areas where industrial and residential
development has resulted in school and employment facilities becoming
available.” Annual Report of the
Department for Community Welfare, June 30th
the Department reported that the “use of the Country Educational Hostels has
been rationalised as numbers of young students requiring accommodation away
from home has reduced or alternative accommodation is found. Metropolitan Student Hostels continue to
operate successfully by providing Aboriginal students from remote areas with
accommodation while attending tertiary education facilities.” (Annual Report of the Department for
Community Services, June 30th 1991).
By February 1995, the Department and the
Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship were the only parties providing metropolitan
hostel accommodation for high school students from Indigenous backgrounds. A report about these hostels, the “Out of
Home Alternative Care Cost Project” (the OHAC Cost Project), noted that “hostel
parents are paid an honorarium and the Department pays for operating
expenses. However children are required
to pay for food, clothing, and books…”
At this time, the hostels had capacity for up to 15 people, including 10
students and a carer and their family.
The facilities were classified either as Student Hostels, which were deemed to be a hybrid of the Group Home
model of care and required House Parents to undertake a range of activities
with the children in their care; or as Education
Hostels which had more staff and accepted only schoolchildren. (OHAC
Cost Project, Department for Community Services, February 1995).
comprehensive discussion about these hostels is provided in Volume Three of
this Report under the heading, “Aboriginal Hostels”.