Liberals seek to pass on responsibility to care for at-risk children

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Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Tania Mihailuk has slammed the Liberal Government for absolving itself of its responsibility to care for young children at risk.

It has today been revealed a growing number of children aged 12 to 15 are presenting to homelessness shelters that accommodate teenagers up to the age of 18 – and the Government is not responding to calls to place these children into out-of-home care. 

“It is the first duty of the government to care for the state’s most vulnerable children, and it is absolutely unacceptable that they should seek to absolve themselves of that responsibility,” Ms Mihailuk said.

"It is alarming to think that a 12 year old child could be placed alongside teenagers up to the age of 18.

"This is a clear example of the Liberal government absolving itself of its responsibility to care for children at risk.

"Children living in homelessness shelters is simply a recipe for disaster – and ultimately at-risk children will suffer from this poor decision.

"Housing children aged 12 to 15 in homelessness shelters is a last resort option. The Liberal Government appears to be trying to set this last resort as a default.

“12 year old children need around the clock care and are dependent on many services that these homeless shelters may not have the resources to provide.

"We cannot allow 12 to 15 year old children presenting to homelessness services to become the norm.

"Homelessness services do great work, but they are already pushed to the brink. The increased demand for places in shelters will be far too great for services to cope.”