The Hon. RON DYER: My question without notice is directed to the Special Minister of State. Will the Minister inform the House how the Motor Accidents Authority is helping parents of children with brain injuries?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: It is estimated that four in every 1,000 children aged up to 18 are affected by a serious brain injury. Unfortunately, many sudden brain injuries are acquired in motor vehicle accidents. As honourable members may be aware, the brain injury recovery process is slow. Some children may spend several months in hospital only to face many severe challenges when they return to their home, their school, their family and the community. Until now little information has been available for parents of children with acquired brain injury syndrome. That is why earlier today I was pleased to launch a booklet entitled "Step by Step: A guide for families of children and adolescents with a brain injury".
The five-part guide was funded by the Motor Accidents Authority and prepared by paediatric brain injury specialists at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick and the Children's Hospital at Westmead. The booklet provides clear information for parents and carers about brain injury support services available in New South Wales. More importantly, it provides information on the different interventions required at each stage in a recovering child's development. Families will now have the right information at the right time. The booklet is a result of the knowledge and experience of two highly skilled, specialised paediatric brain injury services at two renowned hospitals-the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick and the Children's Hospital at Westmead. The authors also sought the advice of affected families, rural brain injury programs and education staff.
I commend everyone involved in this outstanding project. In particular, I place on record my appreciation to the Parent Advisory Committees from the brain injury programs at Randwick and Westmead. It was their experience, in a difficult and stressful situation, that has helped professionals craft invaluable information for other parents at a time of crisis. It is a sign of the booklet's success that strong interest has been shown from a United Kingdom publisher to adapt the guides for international distribution. The professional staff who attended the launch this morning had worked with parents on a number of initiatives that should receive the support of the House and various public authorities in order to ensure that young children with brain injuries, especially acquired brain injuries, are given maximum opportunities to return to a normal and healthy life.