Karingal, in Melville, which had once been a hostel for school-age children, was re-opened in December 1976 by the Department for Community Welfare as a 'community annexe' of the youth justice facility, Nyandi. Its purpose was to accommodate 'younger girls' who could receive intensive support to stay at school. By 1989 the residential program at Karingal had closed but the facility continued to operate as a departmental youth services centre. In 1993, the facility was transferred to the Ministry of Justice.
Karingal was located on Canning Highway in Melville. The Department for Community Welfare (DCW) had purchased the building, which had previously been a hostel for school children, in 1974 and re-opened it in December 1976 to serve as a community-based annexe of Nyandi, which was a 'secure' institution for young women.
In its 1977 annual report the DCW (Signposts, 2004) described Karingal as a hostel for up to six 'younger girls'. It was staffed by DCW officers who liaised with school teachers and guidance officers to improve girls' school attendance and 'school behaviour'. It is likely that 'younger girls' meant girls in the 12-15 age group.
It seems from existing reports that Karingal could receive admissions directly from DCW, or via Nyandi. The length of time girls stayed there varied. Girls stayed at Karingal for an average of 4-5 months in 1978 and 2-3 months in 1981. Karingal was described by the DCW in its annual report in 1984 (Signposts 2004 as able to accommodate up to eight girls with a preference for having only three girls resident at any one time so that intensive support could be provided. Karingal's role from the departmental perspective was outlined: to 'provide an environment where girls will stay despite previous histories of running away…[and to] bring the girl's behaviour within socially acceptable limits to allow her to be moved back to parents or to foster/boarding placements.'
By 1986, Karingal had embarked on a new program and was renamed the Karingal Unit. The focus of the unit, as described in the 1987 annual report of the Department for Community Services (Signposts, 2004) was to offer: 'intensive practical support to youth in the community who are at serious physical and emotional risk because of behaviours harmful to themselves and others. The Unit's resources consist of experienced staff who are able to work flexible hours and spend the time needed to gain the trust and confidence of the usually difficult, damaged and rebellious youth. Typical problems are referral over drug and alcohol abuse, parent/child conflict, and minor offences such as stealing, drug overdosing and street living'.
It seems that Karingal's residential program had ceased by 1989.
Non-residential support programs for young people deemed to be at risk continued to be delivered from Karingal and in 1993 the building was transferred to the Ministry of Justice.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 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; Western Australia. Department for Community Welfare, Annual Report: Department for Community Welfare, Dept. For Community Welfare, [Perth], 1973-1984, http://catalogue.slwa.wa.gov.au/record=b1410539~S7. Annual report 1977, p.48..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 16 June 2014