20/04/2022 - 16:32

The Esther Foundation enters voluntary administration

20/04/2022 - 16:32

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Administrators have been appointed to a prominent treatment centre for women and teenagers amid allegations of abuse and mistreatment.

The Esther Foundation enters voluntary administration
The Esther Foundation announced it has entered voluntary administration.

Administrators have been appointed to a prominent treatment centre for women and teenagers amid allegations of abuse and mistreatment.

The Esther Foundation, a faith-based residential treatment facility, released a statement on its website today advising that it has entered voluntary administration.

“The recent media campaign has caused significant reputational damage to the foundation, such that our funding base has reduced to the extent that we are likely become insolvent in the very near future, and accordingly under law we cannot continue to operate in this event,” the statement said.

“The predicted outcome of this administration process will be the closure and winding up of the Foundation.

"Throughout this process, we are continuing to seek an appropriate professional organisation to ensure the continuity of care and alternative program support for the women and children that currently remain in our care, and to work to ensure ongoing employment for our staff."

The foundation's statement said its interim chief executive was working closely with the administrator to achieve the best possible outcome for the women and staff.

The news comes after the state government referred the Esther Foundation to a committee for review over allegations of abuse and mistreatment earlier this month.

Mervyn Kitay of Worrells has been appointed as voluntary administrator of Esther Foundation Incorporated, trading as The Esther Foundation.

Worrells also released a statement today confirming the team were expecting to report findings to creditors and make a recommendation as to the most commercial and practical way forward for the foundation, in five weeks’ time.

Mr Kitay said any former residents, staff or volunteers of the Foundation who may have a criminal complaint to contact the police if they have not already done so.

“It’s a very challenging position given the foundation’s purpose, however the limited funds available appear sufficient to enable it to remain open for several weeks, and that as a consequence, no current resident will be required to vacate in the near term unless of course they elect to do so voluntarily," he said.

Worrells also advised that no new incoming residents could be accommodated.

A first meeting of creditors is expected to be held in eight business days with a second meeting to be held within 20 to 30 business days, which is when the future of the foundation would be determined.

The parliamentary committee is expected to report back by December 1 after examining complaints from former residents, staff and volunteers, as well as the steps taken by the organisation in response.

"Since I was made aware of these disturbing allegations and invited former residents of the Esther Foundation to contact me, a large number have taken up that offer and shared significant matters of concern, and I thank them for their courage," Women's Interests minister Simone McGurk said at the time.

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