Working with children in Australia
In 1966 our name changed from Dr Barnardo's Homes (Australia Branch) to Dr Barnardo in Australia and a Family Care Service was established. 1967 and the Wilmot Street Office was opened with great financial assistance from Barnardo's UK.
The period 1968-1978 saw a number of homes opened and some later closed including Canberra, Ryde and Kiraville but some of these closures were due to the establishment of the new Roy McCaughey Barnardos Centre at Auburn (1974).
1978 saw the Homemaker Service now called Special Neighbours started at Auburn and Kids Friends started in Canberra Centres. These were the beginnings of Barnardos Children’s Family Centres.
The period since the 1970s has seen an emphasis on family-based placements. There are now no children's homes for children under twelve. There has been an increased effort to find permanent solutions for children within their own family or if not possible, with substitute families or independent living.
With the establishment of the management team in 1983 there has been a concerted effort to expand services which prevented entry to care. Two new Children’s Family Centres were established at Penrith (1990) and the South Coast (1999). Each of the four Centres has a range of support services, including crisis and respite foster care, semi-supported accommodation, childcare, visiting services groups and youth support.
Barnardos has been instrumental in developing Temporary Family Care, a crisis and respite foster program to prevent premature removal of children from their families. These programs began at the Waverley Centre and subsequent programs were begun in Children’s Family Centres in Auburn (1984), Penrith (1989) and Canberra and the South Coast (1990).
For children who are unable to live at home a permanency and adoption program has been established. This program is known as Find-a-Family and FAF Centres are placed in Sydney, Canberra, Central Coast and South Coast, NSW.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, changes in social conditions effecting adolescents meant that increased emphasis has been placed on Barnardos adolescent programs.
Hohnen House was opened in 1988, Kingston House in 1987 (catering for Indo-Chinese refugees) and a streetwork program in 1990. These programs have expanded and now include rural services.
Barnardos contributes widely to Federal and State debate on the welfare of Australia's disadvantaged children and young people. Development of specialist expertise has been used to improve children's welfare services across Australia. In 1997 Barnardos began The LAC Project which modified the Looking After Children case management system to Australian conditions and made it available to welfare agencies in other states. Barnardos also became involved in the 'Children in Need' assessment tool, and development of data collection in child welfare.
In 2000 Barnardos began to work in rural NSW and has a developing service network in the Central West of the State.