Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk. Sharyn O'Neill

Our troubled youth 'double crossed'

OPPOSITION leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Newman government has "double crossed" youth at risk and their families by refusing to clarify the future of the Barrett Adolescent Centre and school at Wacol.

"The Barrett Centre is a unique facility in Queensland offering a school and residential care for adolescents with serious mental health problems and the LNP government has callously refused to commit to keep it open in 2013," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"If not, what will happen to the students who come from throughout the state and what is the future of the staff?"

Ms Palaszczuk and Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller yesterday met parents and other representatives of the Barrett Centre to discuss their concerns.

"The former government planned to relocate the Barrett Centre to a new site at the Redlands Hospital and although there had been some delays in the process, the former government was never going to shut the centre and school," Mrs Miller said.

A spokesman for Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the average occupancy rate at the Barrett Centre was 43% of 15 beds.

"The future of the centre will be decided by the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service based on recommendations from the recently formed Barrett Adolescent Centre Planning Group," the spokesman said.

"The National Health Reform Agenda identifies the need to ensure young people are treated closer to their homes in the least restrictive environment and with minimum possible disruption to their families' educational, social and community networks. The National Mental Health Service Planning Framework also clearly recommends community-based and non-acute care settings for the care of mental health consumers, particularly young people."

He said the Barrett Adolescent Centre Planning Group would consider these factors.

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