Young people supported into new care arrangements as Red Cross transitions from Lady Lawley Cottage

Red Cross is working with young people and their families to transition to specialist care providers following the announcement last month it is withdrawing from Lady Lawley Cottage.

Western Australia Red Cross Director Craig Stewart said the decision was made late last year that Red Cross will focus our work in a smaller number of key areas where we can have the greatest impact. Lady Lawley Cottage provides respite residential care for children with disabilities.

“Lady Lawley Cottage is the only disability residential service Red Cross operates in Australia, and with the arrival of NDIS there are many service providers able to provide to specialised care for the young people using Lady Lawley Cottage,” he said.

“Prior to COVID-19 we had an average of 18 children per week using our residential respite service. With the pandemic outbreak, cancellations reduced this to as low as two. We pivoted our care to offer in-home respite which was taken up by 10 families. So with 80 staff, it is no longer viable. With services paused due to COVID restrictions, we accelerated the move to continue the transition to other providers.

“There are many other excellent service providers in the region whose core business is care for children with disabilities, and children with disabilities transitioning to adulthood, and we believe they are now better placed to provide these services ongoing. Rather than compete with other providers we will instead focus our energies and resources in other areas.

“As we’re putting our energy into supporting the remaining clients so they have the best arrangements in the months ahead, no decision has been made about the future of the building.

“We are very mindful of the special significance and history the building holds.”

Mr Stewart said he understands that the news would bring sadness and disappointment to some, including parents, supporters and many wonderful current and former staff.

“We are all proud of what has been achieved and created there over many years, and the legacy that has been created.”

The timeline from here is:

  • Paused services (where no clients are currently accessing the service) transitions by end June 2020
  • Clients currently accessing services, transitions by end August 2020
  • High Needs Unit, transitions by December 2020
  • Lady Lawley Cottage closes by December 2020

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