Monday, May 20, 2024

$39m to expand WA Child Development Service workforce

WA’s Child Development Service (CDS) will be significantly expanded, with the State Government today announcing $39 million to substantially increase staff and overhaul the vital service.

The Government has pledged the $39 million for both the Child and Adolescent Health Service metropolitan service (CAHS-CDS) and WA Country Health Service regional service (WACHS-CDS), as part of the 2024-25 State Budget. 

WA Health Minister, Amber-Jade Sanderson said the funding will facilitate a significant increase in clinical staff, including paediatricians, clinical nurse specialists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists and audiologists, in both the metro and regional areas.

“There is no other service in the country that does what the CDS does. Our service looks after kids across 2.5 million square kilometres – from Kununurra to Albany – and the staff working in this service do a great job,” said Minister Sanderson.

“Demand growth for CDS has been far exceeding what you would expect for our population, with referrals growing at an unprecedented rate.

“This $39 million investment will pave the way for a major uplift in CDS staff, especially in clinical roles, and ensures this vital service meets the needs of WA kids and families.”

The multi-million dollar boost also includes infrastructure funding to lease additional temporary accommodation to allow staff to see more families.

The CDS is the only public child development service in Australia where both assessment and intervention services are provided by a multidisciplinary team of paediatricians and allied health clinicians under the one service umbrella.

The Service has experienced an unprecedented surge in demand at a time when there is a worldwide shortage of paediatricians. In the past 10 years referrals to CDS paediatricians have risen by 132%.

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