The Bridgewater Care and Assessment Centre opened in 1969 as a government-run residential facility in Applecross, for children and young people aged 3-18 years. Bridgewater admitted children who were wards and private children. At first, Bridgewater provided pre-placement assessments and short-term accommodation, later offering therapeutic, family reunification and pre-adoption programs. Local children attended the kindergarten on the Bridgewater site. Bridgewater's residential programs closed in 1983.
The Bridgewater Care and Assessment Centre was officially opened on 5 February 1969. It was established by the Child Welfare Department in January that year as a short-term residential facility for children and young people aged from 3 to 18 years. Bridgewater was to serve two purposes: professional pre-placement assessment and short-term accommodation for children who temporarily could not live at home or in their current placement.
Bridgewater was situated on 4.5 hectares of land in Applecross near the Swan River, developed around a cottage home model, with a kindergarten on site, which local children attended. During the 1970s an increasing number of teenage children were being admitted to Bridgewater, and many Aboriginal children with health issues were placed there. Reports from the 1970s comment on the increasingly complex issues experienced by children admitted to Bridgewater. In liaison with the Child Life Protection Unit, Bridgewater provided services for children who had experienced sexual and other abuse.
Where possible, children at Bridgewater kept attending their original schools.
From 1982, as part of a 'permanency planning' policy, Bridgewater provided accommodation for people engaged in pre-adoption and family reunification programs. With declining admissions and only four of the eight cottages in use, Bridgewater became a crisis-care unit in September 1983 and from January 1984 was the administration centre for the new Community Support Hostels system.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'Table 4: Young People at Bridgewater, 1969-1983', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 9 October 2014