The aim of Westwood was to prepare each resident for independent living by training them for appropriate employment and in relevant life skills. The institution ran a day programme for girls who lived nearby.
In 1977 the Uniting Church was formed from congregations of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches. The Uniting Church took over the management of Westwood and the Heighway House Project. Children who were thought to be capable of independent living or supported independent living were transferred from Westwood to Heighway House. Around 1979 the residential programmes of the Heighway House Project were closed down.
Reverend Harry Herbert, the Executive Director of UnitingCare NSW/ACT, has said that the level of institutionalisation at Westwood was 'shocking', with up to 90 girls and women being housed there by 1968. Gordon Trickett, the head of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Uniting Church, was opposed to the dehumanising institutionalisation of the sick, aged, disabled and incarcerated. He closed Westwood, Tahmoor, Iandra and Heighway House in the late 1970s.
Reverend Herbert says these closures, and the closure of the 'unsuitable model' at St Andrew's Leppington, were 'a necessary course of action', and that, since the Senate Enquiry into the Forgotten Australians he has personality dealt with cases from all these homes, including sexual assault.
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09 November 2021
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00244
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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