About us

Barnardos Australia has been helping children since 1921. During this time we've helped countless vulnerable children and their families have a better life.

Our core values

Children have been, and always are at the centre of everything that we do.

At Barnardos, we hope to end child abuse and neglect by supporting families to keep children and young people safe at home. We help children and young people who have experienced trauma, to recover and thrive and where there is a risk of abuse we find safe homes for them through foster care and open adoption.

We connect children, young people and families to the community to ensure they never feel isolated or alone. We give children, young people and families the tools to cope with life’s challenges and improve their wellbeing. We motivate children, young people and their families to embrace learning and education so they can reach their brightest future.

We amplify the voices of young people to influence Government on the issues that affect their lives. We celebrate diversity and encourage children, young people and families to embrace their culture, history and identity. 


Barnardos believes

Our vision

We will empower every child in Australia to have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Our purpose

We support vulnerable children to recover and thrive. Together, we ensure they reach their brightest future.


Our commitment

We never give up

We recognise the challenges that children face and put our shared wisdom and experience to work. We don’t give up because we know that we can empower children to achieve their full potential

We speak up

We listen, act and advocate on behalf of children, always showing compassion and inclusion
summit, mountain, top, snow, peak, apexCreated with Sketch.

We aim higher

We learn, improve and innovate in everything we do to enrich the well-being of children and their families. We demand excellence to inspire excellence

We stand with you

When we unite around a child in need, we prove that they do not have to overcome their challenges alone. We champion collaboration and cultivate teamwork for the good of children, families and the community
expand lines

We do what’s right

We build trust with people, partners and our community by being ethical, transparent and accountable. We take full responsibility and learn from our mistakes

Let's work together

Barnardos Statement of Commitment

Barnardos recognises that social justice is not possible in Australia without justice for our First Nations people. 
We commit to the ongoing work of decolonisation to ensure that First Nations children can grow up strong in their families with the knowledge and understanding of their cultural rights. Barnardos promotes and celebrates First Nations peoples rich, unique and continuing culture and connection to country. We take responsibility for creating and maintaining a culturally safe and supportive environment for every person who accesses our services.

Barnardos acknowledges the suffering as a result of the Stolen Generations and the ongoing overrepresentation of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in statutory out-of-home care. As a non-Indigenous organisation in this space, we commit to working alongside First Nations families, communities and organisations in a respectful way to break to cycle of disadvantage and build capacity so that First Nations children can thrive.

Reconciliation Statement

Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan

Reconciliation Action Plan Guide


Our Practice Framework

The Barnardos Practice Framework is an innovative approach to achieving the best outcomes possible for children, young people, and their families. It was developed through extensive consultation with our staff who have a deep understanding of what our children and their families need, and from this we developed the seven core principles of the Framework (below) that guide our entire organisation.

The Practice Framework informs what we do at all levels, including organisational culture, learning, advocacy, strategy, continuous improvement, and leadership. It clearly communicates our beliefs, actions, and impacts to children, families, internal and external stakeholders, and new employees.

By enhancing the visibility of our approach, the Practice Framework focuses our thoughts and actions, driving us to realise our vision of an Australia where all children have every opportunity to reach their brightest future.

Click on the Practice Framework icons below to learn more.

Be Child Focused

We listen to and advocate for the interests, wishes and views of children and young people.

Keep families central

We respect and work in partnership with families so that they achieve what is important to them.

Build strong relationships and connections

We want children, young people and families to feel that they are understood, have strong relationships and have people around them that care about them.

Approach culture with humility, respect and curiosity

We approach our work with children, young people and families in a way that is respectful and curious of
all cultures.

Build capacity

We partner with our clients, so they thrive.

Help clients heal from the effects of trauma

We recognise that
trauma can have significant lifelong impacts. Our
approach will contribute
to the healing of our
clients and communities.

Be evidence driven

We achieve the best outcomes for our clients by ensuring our programs and services are grounded in evidence and in a framework of continual practice improvement.


We have a long history of helping children


Dr Thomas John Barnardo, the original founder, was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1845.
As a young man he moved to London to train as a doctor.

When he arrived, he was shocked to find children living in terrible conditions – one in five children died before their fifth birthday. When a cholera epidemic left many children orphaned, Dr Barnardo felt an urgent need to help. In 1870, Dr Barnardo opened his first home for boys.

To begin with, there was a limit to the number of boys who could stay there. But when an 11-year-old boy was found dead of malnutrition and exposure — just two days after being told the shelter was full – Dr Barnardo vowed never to turn another child away.

Dr Barnardo’s work was radical. The Victorians saw poverty as shameful, and the result of laziness or vice. But Dr Barnardo refused to discriminate between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor. He accepted all children, regardless of race, disability or circumstance. Dr Barnardo believed that every child deserved the best possible start in life, whatever their background.

This philosophy still guides us today. Barnardos Australia was incorporated in 1995 and still maintains its links to the Barnardos international family in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. Today, we continue to support vulnerable children to recover and thrive.

We are here to empower every child to reach their full potential in life.