The commitment of the Bunbury community to the wellbeing of their children and young people was evident during a visit by the acting Commissioner for Children and Young People Jenni Perkins earlier this week.
In addition to meeting with local service providers, Ms Perkins visited Newton Moore Senior High School, Carey Park Primary School and Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School to speak to children and young people about their perspectives on living in Bunbury.
Ms Perkins said she was impressed with the views and ideas of the students she met with who said they enjoyed the sport and access to nature-based activities in Bunbury, but sometimes wanted a greater variety of activities.
“The staff of these local schools were incredibly committed and I was impressed with the innovative programs in operation, such as Positive Behaviour Support that is assisting both children and families from an early age,” Ms Perkins said.
“I was interested to hear about the MindUP Program at Djidi Djidi that is teaching students about how the brain works and what they can do at different times to help them relax and focus on their work.
“And it was wonderful to see the Child and Parent Centre at Carey Park Primary School in operation and providing vital services to young children and their parents.
“I spoke to several parents at this centre, including some from culturally diverse backgrounds, all of whom spoke highly of the resource and the support they receive from the staff working there.”
Ms Perkins also met with a range of local service providers, including Bunbury Headspace, the South West Development Commission, the South West Youth Coordination Network and Investing In Our Youth Inc.
“As with many regional centres, the issue of access to services was raised, including the need for confidential mental health services for young people, with transport also a barrier.
“The new Bunbury headspace is providing much needed local support and has reached out to many local young people, but mental health is an area of significant need, particularly for those young people living outside of Bunbury.
We still have a long way to go to ensure that regional children, young people and families have access to a full range of services and support, including preventative programs that strengthen mental health to prevent problems arising in the first place.
“Mental health is a key area of work for my office and this feedback helps my advocacy to government and the agencies that are responsible for improving these services.”
The Commissioner will release a report of her visit to Collie and Bunbury in the next couple of weeks.
The Commissioner for Children and Young People has a legislated role to undertake research and consultation and use this information to advocate for changes to policies and services that strengthen children and young people’s wellbeing.
The Commissioner is independent and reports directly to the WA Parliament.
The Commissioner undertakes several regional visits each year to ensure the views of children, young people families and service providers in these areas are taken into account.
More information about the Commissioner and her work is available from www.ccyp.wa.gov.au