WA Labor is committed to better schools, including early childhood education facilities, support and protection for children at risk, support for families and for young people. Our policies related to Cost of Living will directly benefit families.
WA Labor released a discussion paper on Justice Reinvestment, discussing positive ways of reducing offending behaviour in juveniles. This paper will be a valuable resource when in Government for further policy development, in collaboration with the community services sector.
We released a direction statement on Growing Children Well, which addressed the critical early years of a child's development and how to foster healthy, happy children. We will be releasing policies related to this and school education, closer to the election.
The mental health of young people is of particular concern and WA Labor will be releasing a mental health policy closer to the election. WA Labor policies can be found here.
The Office for Early Childhood Development and Learning was established in February 2009 within the Department for Education.
The Liberal-led Government believes this office can lead the development of early childhood policy and service delivery in Western Australia, with the potential for further progress through existing cross-government and community sector relationships.
Additionally, in March 2012 there was an investment of $28.8 million over four years to establish 10 Parent and Child Centres on public school sites. These centres will provide support and services including child health checks and referrals, parenting programs, psychological counselling, speech therapy, early learning programs and playgroups. As you may be aware, I recently announced an intention to build on this program with the planned establishment of an additional six centres across Western Australia. Funding of $58.5 million over four years has also been provided for 100 additional child and school nurses to deliver child health checks in partnership with the community sector.
The Greens (WA) acknowledge the importance of coordinated client-centred services for children, young people and families, and support the establishment of an Office for Early Childhood. We want increased investment in community based services that support children, young people and families, including child protection, mental health, juvenile justice, parenting, and children with special educational needs. We recognise the long term benefits and cost effectiveness of early intervention. We support the delivery of services that are accessible to all families, particularly those who are more vulnerable. We want better access to affordable child care and to parenting support services for all people performing child-rearing roles, including foster carers and Grandcarers. We support efforts to prevent the abuse of children, and support the establishment of specialist services to support children who have experienced trauma. We support increased investment in data collection and monitoring and the development of evidence and research-based programs.
The response from the National Party did not address the individual priorities. Please refer to their letter for more details of their response, please click here.
The following paragraphs from their letter appears to be of relevance to this particular priority:
Royalties for Regions is also providing $27.9 million to responsible parenting services over four years, helping build stronger, more resilient families. These programs focus on prevention and early intervention for at risk families, helping reduce the number of children and young people going into care.
Through the Regional Child Care Development Fund Royalties for Regions is delivering $9.3 million to help regional child care services which are often volunteer run, meet the unique challenges that come with being based in regional and remote locations. We are contributing towards training and professional development of staff and so increasing the sustainability of community services and developing new centres.