Through the cracks: A little girl still lost in Mandurah, looking for support

Through the cracks: A 13-year-old girl who was homeless before being taken in by a Mandurah Good Samaritan still needs help after the guardian who kicked her out of home is still collecting welfare benefits on her behalf. Photo: Shutterstock.
Through the cracks: A 13-year-old girl who was homeless before being taken in by a Mandurah Good Samaritan still needs help after the guardian who kicked her out of home is still collecting welfare benefits on her behalf. Photo: Shutterstock.

In September, the Mandurah Mail published the story of a 13-year-old girl who had fallen through the cracks and found herself homeless in Mandurah.

Danni was living with Jennifer, a Good Samaritan who took her in after discovering she was living on the streets after her guardian had thrown her out of her Perth home.

Jennifer was in the middle of a bureaucratic nightmare, struggling to get Danni enrolled in a local school and trying desperately to find help for the girl.

Now, almost four months after Jennifer opened her home to Danni, she is still struggling to get the authorities to listen.

“We’re still battling to get her recognised in the system,” Jennifer said.

“I have been successful in being allocated Family Tax Benefit A and B, which is approximately $50 a week.”

But she was concerned the person who had guardianship over Danni was still receiving Centrelink payments that were rightfully the teenager’s.

She said she was frightened she would not be able to afford to care for Danni.

“Danni actually doesn’t have anywhere to go, in any event, even if I end up on the street with her, because I just can’t afford to keep her anymore, it’s just very, very unfair for both of us,” she said.

“People say I should go get food hampers delivered, but it’s not as simple as that.

“It’s education costs, books, bus fare, the school even sent me out a fee account that I can’t pay at the moment.”

Jennifer said it was the little things that others took for granted, like making sure Danni had a phone so she could be contacted.

She said she had spoken to Mandurah MP David Templeman’s office and sent them an email.

“But I don’t think you should have to go this far,” she said.

“It’s not just me, but no-one who tries to help seems to be able to get their calls returned.

“But I’m the one who initiates all the phone calls, bar one phone call when the government said they were going to do something, well they haven’t done s**t.”

The Department of Communities Assistant Director General for Child Protection and Family Support Jackie Chang said she was unable to discuss the details of specific cases for reasons of confidentiality.

“Anyone who feels dissatisfied or concerned by the decisions, policies or actions of the department can contact the Complaints Management Unit on 9222 2594,” she said.

“Anyone seeking emergency assistance is encouraged to contact the Crisis Care Helpline on 9223 1111 or 18000 199 008 (country free call).”