The Commissioner for Children and Young People WA Colin Pettit says children and young people who come to the attention of justice and child protection agencies should be involved in identifying what help they need to turn their lives around.
“I understand the Police Commissioner’s view that police find themselves in a difficult situation when they are not able to identify a responsible adult for a child that has been detained,” Mr Pettit said.
“It is incredibly sad that some WA children do not have one responsible adult to care for them so it is little wonder they behave in the way they do.
“These children and young people deserve our intensive support, and this includes talking with them about what they think they need to overcome the problems they face, and acting on what they say.
“All children have the right to grow up in a safe and loving environment, and where parents are struggling to provide this they should receive all the support they need.
“However, if parents are unable or simply unwilling to support their children we must act swiftly to protect their health and wellbeing."
Mr Pettit said this broad community issue required a broad community response, as it can’t be left entirely to government agencies.
“For example, children and young people continually tell my office that having a range of role models and mentors helps them to achieve their life goals and overcome challenges they face.
“Everybody in the WA community can play a part by considering how they can make a positive difference in local children’s lives.”