Baptist Care SA’s Care Pathways services have seen dramatic changes over the past six months as a result of the Child Protections Systems Royal Commission.
The investigation identified that young people leaving care are more likely to experience challenges in education, health, life skills, housing and relationships. The subsequent report, ‘The Life They Deserve’ described a system in urgent need of reform.
In response, the South Australian Government launched a new strategy entitled ‘Every effort for every child’ outlining plans to modernise the care system and focus on better, long term outcomes for children and young people in care.
Part of these changes involved the cessation of Short Term Care (STC) and the introduction of Placement and Support Packages (PaSP). STC provided 24/7 accommodation for children and young people 0-18 years old who were assessed as being at risk and placed under Guardianship orders by the Department of Child Protection (DCP).
The shift from STC to PaSP will bring many benefits to young people in care. All of the young people in PaSP are traumatised, many have disabilities and all have very high needs. The new model is designed to be more flexible, and prioritises identifying and responding to each child’s unique needs.
“When children are in crisis it’s hard to assess their needs and functioning – when everything is chaotic they are simply reacting,” explains PaSP Manager, Lulu Cushway.
For this reason, PaSP focuses on stabilising young people by providing them with a therapeutic environment where they feel safe. Their needs can be accurately assessed within 90 days, before moving into their longer term home.
Baptist Care SA successfully tendered to join the PaSP Panel, and as a Panelist is able to work to ensure that each young person is supported to access and participate in all facets of life. Additionally, more information is received about each child, allowing for designated training of staff to meet their needs.
Another important distinction going forward is Baptist Care SA’s intention to purchase properties for PaSP homes rather than utilising rental properties, allowing for more responsive support of young people in care. For example, staff will be able to decorate, hang art work, dig vegetable gardens and purchase specialised equipment quickly and efficiently.
Each home has a House Lead who is focused solely on the care and wellbeing of those in their house. The homes are also large, placing the organisation in a unique position to care for sibling groups so that there is no need for them to be separated.
There are currently 12 children and young people (aged 2-14 years old) settled in five Baptist Care SA PaSP houses across the Northern and Southern Adelaide suburbs. Baptist Care SA look forward to proving the best possible therapeutic care to these vulnerable children and young people into the future – the care that they deserve.