To respect privacy the ABF typically does not comment on individual cases, however certain statements in the public domain are factually incorrect. This statement provides the facts.
An infant currently being treated for Influenza A at the Northern Hospital has not been detained. Her mother is detained and her father lives in the community. The infant has been living with her mother at her request, but may come and go from the facility and stay in the community with her family.
The infant became unwell on 11 July and was admitted to hospital but released without treatment. She was seen by the onsite general practitioner who prescribed medication. On 12 July 2019, the Department’s Melbourne-based child wellbeing officer visited the family and the mother reported the baby was recovering well.
On 14 July medical professionals at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA)—adjacent to the Broadmeadows Residential Precinct—again assessed her condition and referred her to the Northern Hospital. In the best interests of the infant, the Department ensured that her mother was able to accompany her to hospital and she remains with her.
A range of care, welfare and support arrangements are in place to provide for the needs of children and young people in detention. Services are provided through on-site primary and mental health clinics with referral to allied and specialist health providers, as required. Acute care is provided by hospitals. Residents have access to the same health and welfare facilities while living in the accommodation as the broader Australian community.
The Australian Border Force and the Department’s Melbourne-based child wellbeing officer regularly engages with parents in the Broadmeadows Residential Precinct to confirm that their cooking, grocery and development needs are being addressed so that they can adequately provide for their children.
The Department prioritises family unity and only accommodates children in immigration detention facilities or alternative places of detention in limited circumstances.