2994. Hon Alison Xamon to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Child Protection:
I refer to children in the care of the CEO, and I ask:
(a) how many children in the care of the CEO are currently in an unendorsed placement;
(b) how many children in the care of the CEO are there whose whereabouts are currently unknown;
(c) what are the ages of the children from:
(i) (a); and
(ii) (b); and
(d) for each child in (b), how long have their whereabouts been unknown?
Hon Sue Ellery replied:
(a) As at 31 July 2020, there were 262 children in the care of the CEO who were in an unendorsed placement.
The Department of Communities Case Practice Manual defines an unendorsed placement as one where a child in the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) care lives with a person or people who have not been assessed or approved by Communities.
For children in the CEO’s care, particularly younger children, a child may reside in a non-assessed placement with a family member or significant other due to a need to support the immediate safety of the child. This placement is considered unendorsed whilst Communities is actively undertaking a full assessment to endorse the placement. A placement may also be categorised as unendorsed when the child is subject to placement orders granted by the Perth Children’s Court.
In some cases, particularly older children, will make their own choices and leave approved placements and live in unendorsed arrangements that have not been approved by Communities. In these cases, Communities will engage with the young person, including people within the young person’s close network, to commence safety planning to support them to make safe decisions. Communities makes every effort to encourage these children to return to their approved placements or to identify an alternative placement arrangement. Despite this, at times these young people refuse to engage with Communities or advise where they are residing, even though they may continue to seek support and be in contact with Communities staff.
In all unendorsed placements, the safety and wellbeing of the child or young person is monitored by their case worker and they can access all the same supports as any other child in care.
(b) As at 31 July 2020, there were nine children in the care of the CEO whose whereabouts or living arrangement was recorded as unknown.
Communities case workers make every attempt to encourage children to return to their placement. While children and young people sometimes choose not to disclose to the case worker where they are, all young people whose whereabouts or living arrangement was recorded as unknown as at 31 July 2020 are in regular contact with their case worker. Each of these children have been either in telephone contact with the Department or sighted in person in the last month.
(c) (i) The ages of the children in the care of the CEO who were in unendorsed placements as at 31 July 2020 are as follows:
Number of Children
The Department constantly analyses the case files of each of these children to determine the particular circumstances of each placement (i.e. undergoing assessment, placement orders granted by the Perth Children’s Court etc.)
(ii) The ages of the children in the care of the CEO whose whereabouts or living arrangement was recorded as unknown as at 31 July 2020 are as follows:
|Age||Number of Children|
(d) The following table details how long the whereabouts of each child in (b) have been recorded as unknown:
Each of the below children have been either in telephone contact with the Department or sighted in person in the last month.
Number of children
Days in unknown living arrangement