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
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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
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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


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.