Troubled Children Pinned, Pushed and Pulled at SA’s Care Homes
By Athena Yenko | April 14, 2014 4:23 PM EST
Troubled children, some with mental health disorders and disabilities, are being physically restrained at an average of 20 times a month during the past 2 years, Herald Sun reports.
Guardian Pam Simmons from the Guardian for Children and Young People conducted an audit of South Australia's care homes and found that carers at some point pinned the arms, locked the joints, twisted the wrists, pushed and pulled troubled children. Such behaviour by carers is called physical restraint and is dangerous to children.
In her audit, Simmon inspected eight major care homes across Adelaide founded from 1980's and had been housing 8 to 12 troubled children ages from 11 to 17.
From her audit, she noted that carers showed "confusion... about what constitutes physical restraint and inconsistent use of terminology in reporting."
Simmons said that holding down a child by two adults posed "high risk to safety and it should only ever be used as a last resort."
Simmons reiterated that physical restraint "has been known to cause physical and psychological injury to children and is reported by children to be frightening, traumatic and humiliating."
She also noted that troubled children need space for their activities and putting many children in a single house increases the risk of abuse and restraint.
Simmons now called for the State Government to have the children housed with no more than three others.
On May, one of the eight large homes promised by the State Government back in 2011 will be open in Morphettville.
The said house will have rooms, with ensuite bathrooms and recreation facilities, for a maximum of four people each.
"We want to make sure that the design of the facility, staffing matters—including staff to child ratio—and individual concerns of each child, are all met before they are moved into the new homes," Education and Child Development Minister Jennifer Rankine said.
Rankine said that they are planning to hire a total of 360 new carers by 2016. All hired would "have undertaken appropriate training."
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