East Metropolitan MLC Donna Faragher says the funding announcement was very welcome but the government to had taken too long to act. Picture: Anita McInnes

Extra funding for Child Development Services

The funding also includes infrastructure funding to lease additional temporary accommodation to allow staff to see more families.
April 18, 2024
Anita McInnes

EAST Metropolitan MLC and opposition Early Childhood Education spokeswoman Donna Faragher says the state government’s announcement to provide extra money to child development services is a win for everyone calling for increased funding.

On April 9 Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson announced $39 million for the Child Development Service to substantially increase staff and overhaul the vital service.

In AMA joins call for govt action on child services (Echo News, April 5) AMA (WA) paediatrician representative Stephen Oo said the state government had been well aware of the crisis in access to paediatric care.

Dr Oo said the select committee into Child Development Services had shown there had been a 52 per cent increase in referrals to child development services since 2013-14 with the last significant increase in staffing in 2010.

Ms Sanderson said the investment in both the Child and Adolescent Health Service metropolitan service (CAHS-CDS) and WA Country Health Service regional service (WACHS-CDS) would be part of the 2024-25 state budget.

The funding boost will allow a significant increase in clinical staff, including paediatricians, clinical nurse specialists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists and audiologists, in both the metro and regional areas.

The funding also includes infrastructure funding to lease additional temporary accommodation to allow staff to see more families.

“This $39 million investment will pave the way for a major uplift in CDS staff, especially in clinical roles, and ensures this vital service meets the needs of WA kids and families,’’ Ms Sanderson said.

Mrs Faragher said while the announcement was very welcome it had taken far too long for the government to finally act.

“There are almost 10,000 children on a waitlist to see a paediatrician and the current median wait time is 21.3 months (February 2024),’’ she said.

“Children are also waiting almost a year to see a speech pathologist or an occupational therapist.

“I will be seeking more detail through the Parliament on this funding increase to determine the immediate impact it will have on wait lists and I will continue to push for other measures to be introduced that aim to reduce wait times and increase service provision across Western Australia.”

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