The Derby Group Home was established in 1979 as a government-run, short to medium-term accommodation facility mostly for Aboriginal children in the Derby region. By 1982 it offered emergency accommodation only. It is possible that Derby closed for short periods when there was no demand, and it is possible that it was no longer operating after 1984.
The Derby Group Home was established by the Department for Community Welfare (DCW) in 1979 to provide short to medium term accommodation for children in the surrounding area. It was open by August 1979 and government reports (Signposts 2004, pp.189-190) show that it was staffed by Group Home Parents. It was located in an existing building in Derby township, which was renovated for the purpose. Authorities at the time reported that (p.189) they hoped to involve parents in the life of the Derby Group Home.
In 1981, the DCW reported (Signposts pp.189-190) that they believed the Derby Group Home had made a useful contribution to the local community and described why children had been placed there: 'children in need of care due to family breakdowns, children in need of emergency accommodation and school children in need of overnight accommodation whilst waiting for connecting flights to travel to their respective schools or homes. Even though the placements were generally of a short duration, there have been instances where children have remained there for longer periods due to lack of alternative placements. In these instances there have been noticeable improvements in behaviour and learning of social skills by these children due to the stable and caring environment offered by the Group Home parents.'
From 1983, with parents increasingly reluctant to send their children away from families and communities, the need for the Derby Group Home gradually seemed to wane. As the DCW reported in 1983, the Home was only used when children couldn't go to extended family.
By 1984, the Derby Group Home was offering emergency accommodation only, and it is likely that it closed sometime during that year.
The building that had housed the Derby Group Home was subsequently used as a departmental office for child welfare authorities.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'pp.189-191', 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: Anna Trengove, Leanne Howard and Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 25 June 2014