New research by Save the Children has found Aboriginal children as young as nine who prowled Kununurra's streets at night were living in a "perpetual state of crisis".
Interviews conducted with 35 at-risk children over several months revealed many lived in overcrowded homes and were disengaged from school, suffering from exposure to family violence, alcohol abuse, a lack of parental discipline and boredom.
The children spoke of a need for a new crisis centre in Kununurra with separate male and female accommodation, as well as a safe bus service and more activities at night.
The study backed the recommendations, also calling for a new education program to re-engage children at school and help for parents to take responsibility and enforce discipline at home.
Last week, it emerged that a swathe of programs targeting domestic violence and youth at risk in Kununurra faced being axed because an $80 million Royalties for Regions funding pool for such projects was vastly over-subscribed.
Kununurra Police Sen. Sgt Jack Lee said juveniles were to blame for more than 80 per cent of volume crime in the town, including burglary, damage and car theft.
Discussions are underway on a safe house model, with government agencies and charities hoping to secure Royalties for Regions funding for the project.
Department for Child Protection regional director Tracey Gillett said any model would not replace responsible parenting and home would still be the first port of call for children picked up on the streets.
If their parents were unavailable, the child would be taken to a designated carer, with the safe house the last stop if someone responsible couldn't be found, she said.
Children being able to access support services and their attendance at school was considered essential to making and sustaining change.
The safe house project is expected to be partly modelled on the recent Operation Sharp, in which police and staff from Child Protection, Youth Justice, Save the Children, MG Corporation, Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation, local shire and Department for Indigenous Affairs took to the streets to talk to the children.
Any found on the streets were taken home and contact with parents was reinforced with follow-up visits and renewed efforts to get the children back to school.
Ms Gillett said over one week in June, 274 contacts were made with 125 children. By the last night, hardly any were on the streets after 11.30pm.
As a result of the operation, 50 families were placed on compulsory income management and 27 children were followed up about their non-attendance.
Some residents also applied to have their homes declared alcohol-free.
Ms Gillett stressed the Aboriginal community would play they key role in deciding the appropriate model for the safe house and any programs that were needed.Kununurra's newly-formed Aboriginal Reference Group formed of traditional owners will meet this week.
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