THE State Government this week announced that Kalamunda’s Esther Foundation will be taken over by a new service provider, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of current clients.
Cyrenian House will take over the residential treatment facility that has been the subject of much scrutiny in recent months after scores of previous clients spoke publicly about abuse at the hands of former staff and operators.
Set up to help troubled women and teenagers forge a fresh start, the faith-based organisation is currently under investigation via an inquiry by the state parliament’s Education and Health Standing Committee.
Recently the organisation went into voluntary administration, leaving 19 women and seven children currently in its care, in limbo.
“The State Government has reached an agreement with Cyrenian House for the provision of an interim service over two years, while long-term options are explored,” Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said.
“The immediate priority is the wellbeing of the Esther Foundation’s existing clients, and the new provider will support them, as well as provide an ongoing service to young women in crisis.”
Cyrenian will provide support to the remaining Esther Foundation residents and develop a new service that provides support to young women and young mothers at risk or in crisis.
This will include support for substance misuse and mental health concerns, transitioning over time to help young women with a range of complex needs, including family violence and homelessness.
The State Government will fund Cyrenian via a grant agreement for a two-year period at a projected cost of $2.2 million a year, while the longer-term options for the facility are examined.
“The assistance provided will transition over time, moving to a holistic model that enables young women to be supported with a range of complex needs, including family violence, homelessness, substance misuse and mental health concerns,” Ms McGurk said.
“This interim service will support the State Government’s commitment to earlier interventions that enable children to stay safe.”