Join us this Friday as we celebrate Wear it Purple Day. The national campaign is about showing rainbow young people, and everybody around us, that they have the right to be proud of who they are!

In 2017, we invite you not only to be proud of who you are, but also to CELEBRATE everybody around you. Celebrate the diversity that surrounds each and every one of us; diversity in sex, sexuality and gender identities, in perspectives, in values, in everything!

The Australian Human Rights Commission acknowledges Wear it Purple Day and says:

Wear it Purple has a simple message: you have the right to be proud of who you are. Sexuality or gender identity does not change this. The idea is simple: wear it purple if you agree.

Through the public outpouring of support, the aim is for rainbow young people everywhere to know that their support-base is far greater than they could have anticipated.

 As more purple is seen yearly at school, in workplaces, on the streets and online, we are saying to rainbow young people everywhere: you are not alone.

So this Friday, August 25, pop on some purple and help celebrate us all in our diversity.

For more information about Wear it Purple Day, click here.

Would you know what to say or do if someone told you they were considering suicide?

Knowledge and training play a key role in suicide prevention and intervention.

We want to equip you with the skills to support people at risk of suicide and self harm.

Through our ASCEND service, we are delivering the following training to develop your capacity to recognise and appropriately respond to warning signs. The training builds on professional and personal lived experiences.

Suicide and self harm workshop 
(Including culturally and linguistically diverse communities)


Topics include: Identifying early warning signs; determining level of risk; intervention strategies; effective elements of supportive communication; supporting diverse and or specific communities.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
9.30am – 4.30pm
Centacare, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide
Thursday, February 15, 2018
9.30am – 4.30pm
Centacare, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide
Thursday, May 10, 2018
9.30am – 4.30pm
Centacare, 413 Grange Rd, Seaton
Nationally Accredited (CHCCCS003 – Increase the safety of individuals at risk of suicide)
(Including culturally and linguistically diverse communities)
Thursday, September 7, 2017
9am – 5pm
45 Wakefield St, Adelaide
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
9am – 5pm
413 Grange Rd, Seaton


Refresher workshop
(Including culturally and linguistically diverse communities)


Tuesday, November 14, 2017
9.30am – 1pm
Centacare, 413 Grange Rd, Seaton
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
9.30am – 1pm
Centacare, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide
Thursday, June 7, 2018
9.30am – 1pm
Centacare, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide


For more information, please contact ASCEND on (08) 8215 6700.

Teens who fall into homelessness early are likely to spend up to a decade accessing supports. Through our Outer North Youth Homelessness Services, Centacare is building young people’s resilience, life skills and independence.

Tina Breen does not forget names easily, nor the stories behind them.

For the past two years she has worked at Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homeless Services (ONYHS) supporting the face of a growing problem.

As limited exit plans stifle young people’s ability to move out of homelessness, Tina is reacquainted with the same characters time and again.

She is touched by their strength, resilience and resourcefulness.

Amidst the young people’s challenges, Tina (pictured) finds reasons to hope for the best. 

“Seeing their capacity to influence positive long-term change is invigorating,’’ she says.

“Their drive to succeed despite the adversity they’ve experienced, you can only be inspired by that.’’

It’s a long road ahead for adolescents who fall into homelessness early.

A 15-year-old entering the sector today is likely to seek support for a decade, Tina says.

“There are minimal options for what seems to be maximum demand.

“Even if we move them into independent living at 18, they are only given 18 months of stable transitional accommodation and then you’re still looking at another five years before they are able to be considered fully independent. That’s a long time.

“We’re seeing more repeat customers than we ever have before. People we met for the first time at 15, 16 years reappear at 17 and 20, so they might be through our service three times in five years. The pathways are not there so they’re staying longer.

“It shows us they are not successfully exiting into good quality, independent living and are reverting back to not coping and managing on their own.’’

This trend has prompted greater sector collaboration between service providers, with a focus on prevention and resolving conflict between young people and parents or caregivers.

However, when family reunification is not possible, Tina says gaps in services are exposed because resources do not meet demand.

This is coupled with a lack of affordable housing and the loss of stepping stones, such as direct lease programs.

“Most of the support services cut off at age 25, but we know that for young people, especially with a trauma history, just providing them with a house is not going to solve their issues.

“We need to address those other underlying factors or they’re not likely to manage a private tenancy.’’

Case study

Through the ONYHS, Centacare provides accommodation, case management, early intervention and outreach, post-crisis and wait-list support to young people aged 15 to 25 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness across the Playford, Gawler and Barossa council areas.

In 2015/16, the service supported  549 people – 348 females and 201 males. Many clients present with unresolved crisis, including childhood trauma and family breakdown.

Centacare has access to 36 transitional housing properties in the area from Elizabeth to Nurioopta with young people given 18-month tenures to stabilise their circumstances and move towards private accommodation.

The following example illustrates the types of support Centacare provides to young people living out of home.

African woman, aged 20.

Sought support from Centacare whilst pregnant and experiencing family conflict. ONYHS provided her with an 18-month tenancy and case management. In addition, she engaged with Strong Start in the North, a program targeted at first-time mothers who are experiencing numerous complex issues. By working with them to develop their skills to cope with challenges, connect them to resources, and increase their parenting capacity, Strong Start seeks to support the development of children who may otherwise be at risk of adverse outcomes.

The young woman quickly flourished, improved her language skills and moved into community housing. With Centacare’s support, she gained the confidence and independence to manage utilities, liaise with service providers and attend appointments on her own. In addition, she enrolled in education and facilitated childcare for her baby in order to move towards employment.

Centacare’s specialist youth homelessness service, Carlow Place, is building young people’s confidence around meals so they not only provide nutritional benefits but emotional nourishment as well.


For most of us it’s a source of pleasure, but eating a meal can have the opposite effect for young people living homeless.

If food is linked to trauma, even snacking can be more painful than hunger.

“People might think why don’t they just eat something if they’re hungry but it’s not as simple as that,’’ says Tina Breen, Senior Social Worker at Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homelessness Service.

“A young person’s attitudes towards food and eating habits provide valuable insight into their emotional needs and the experiences that led them to living out of home.’’

It’s not just food that a child takes in as nourishment from a very young age, it’s the care and love that goes with it, Tina says.

Young people who have never internalised this kind of experience will therefore have a different understanding of food and the social aspect of meal times.

“Children who have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect are usually very anxious in relation to food because of the feelings and triggers it evokes,’’ Tina says.

“Some children may eat very little or they may binge eat, often on junk food, as a way of self-soothing. This is usually a substitute for the kind of reassurance they would receive from a parent.’’

In recognition of this, Centacare has adopted a trauma-informed approach to food at specialist youth homelessness service, Carlow Place.

The aim is to support young people to build a positive relationship with food so that it not only provides nutritional benefits but emotional nourishment as well.

Case study – Carlow Place

Located at Elizabeth, Carlow Place provides emergency and supported accommodation for eight young people aged 15 to 18 years who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.

At Carlow, meals are adapted to suit individual emotional needs. For example, food may be provided as `take away’, enabling a young person to eat at their pace in their own safe space.

Alternatively, they may choose to participate in a voluntary cooking and dishes roster which was recently introduced to encourage social interaction.

Young people have input into the menu and take turns to cook and clean up each night under the guidance of a therapeutic youth worker. This enables them to interact and connect in new ways, and empowers them to make their own choices in a safe environment.

“Seeing the food assists to reduce anxiety about what’s in the food. It is also a good opportunity to learn about nutrition, develop cooking skills and experience the pleasure in providing a meal for others,’’ Tina says.

“Having regular meal times adds structure to a child’s life and reduces anxiety. It is also a good opportunity to set clear expectations around behaviour and to create a sociable, home-like atmosphere.

“The structure, routine, and consistency involved in cooking a meal also helps young people to feel safe which in turn gives them confidence to make their own decisions, in a supported environment. This is conducive to trauma informed care.’’

On Friday and Saturday nights, creativity and independent living skills are nurtured by encouraging young people to cook using only leftover ingredients.

Every day, lunch bags and snack packs are provided to encourage young people to eat at school and off-site, stay hydrated and forge a positive relationship with food.

“The young people love it and are showing more enthusiasm when they have to attend daily activities,’’ Tina says.

“Providing young people with something they can eat at the start of the day helps them feel nourished physically, socially and emotionally and can determine how the rest of their day goes.’’

Snacks are also available onsite, on request. This helps connect the provision of food to positive relationships with others.

Food is also used to diffuse negative emotions, says Tina, and can be as beneficial as a hug from someone they trust. Offering a simple drink or snack can help alleviate pain, anxiety and even anger.

“If a young person is distressed, handing them a hot chocolate that can be held and sipped and is warm and sweet is very comforting.

“One of our youth social workers is a fabulous cook and often bakes cakes and makes soup.

“This is very much like a grandparent type of role modelling that many young people have never had. They all identify how nurturing it is and verbalise how much it means to them.’’

*This week we are marking Homelessness Week (August 7-13). The national campaign aims to raise awareness of the experiences and challenges faced by people living out of home. The theme of this year’s week is ‘Action and Innovation‘ and we will be highlighting some of the ways we are supporting young people to stay safe, remain connected with their communities, and build their independence. Centacare provides specialist youth homelessness services, and accommodation support for women and children experiencing domestic violence, in regional and metropolitan South Australia.

#HW2017 #endhomelessness and #innovationinhomelessness

Traumatic events in a person’s life can put them on a multi-directional path to homelessness. Understanding the impact of childhood trauma is driving Centacare’s support of vulnerable young people in the north.


It is easy to make assumptions about people living homeless: they’re tearaways, lazy, they should just get a job…

But it is the invisible pain cloaking their plight that’s guiding Centacare’s trauma informed care of young people living homeless in the north and Barossa Valley.

“I don’t think most people recognise the extent of how trauma effects people’s lives and their core,’’ says Megan Welsh, Executive Manager, Youth and Community Support Services.

“At the heart of their troubles is often years of immense sadness that’s hard to fathom when they’re still so young.

“Rather than punish and entrench that trauma, we try to repair and resolve it, and that in itself is quite complex because everybody’s experiences are different.’’

This is requiring a greater understanding of the challenges that precipitate homelessness, how adolescents act out as a result of experiencing childhood trauma, and the impact this has on the way Centacare supports them.

In response, the Outer North Youth Homelessness Service (ONYHS) has adopted a trauma-informed approach to increase our capacity to support vulnerable young people beyond therapeutic and other traditional interventions.

The focus is as much on youth case workers as it is on those at risk.

“You hear a lot of stories, you feel a lot of pain and see a lot of distress,’’ says Tina Breen (pictured), Senior Social Worker. “That can sneak up on you.’’

Reflective practice and supervision is used to encourage staff self-care, and their work is guided by trauma informed policies and procedures.

A 2015 Pegasus Economics report shows unresolved trauma, and its long-term impact on an adult’s wellbeing, costs the nation about $7.8 billion each year.

In 15/16, the ONYHS supported 549 people (348 females and 201 males). Of these, 281 were homeless at intake, 218 were experiencing mental health issues and 57 were fleeing family or domestic violence.

“Most of the young people we see present with complex trauma: repeated episodes of abuse and neglect as a child is common,’’ Tina says.

“Developmental trauma linked to poor attachment and neglect is compounded by other risk factors, such as domestic violence, substance abuse and family breakdown, putting them on a multi-directional path to homelessness.

“As a result, they have less capacity to function so they might self-medicate or end up being the victim of further abuse, such as rape, or put themselves in violent situations because they don’t have the ability to act and respond and make decisions like everybody else.’’

Embedding a deeper understanding of trauma across the ONYHS is helping staff predict and more thoughtfully respond to young people’s reactions to some supportive interventions.

For example, a teenager’s refusal to eat may be due to deprivation or denial of food as a child.

“We might think we’re helping offering them a piece of toast if they’re feeling unwell, but what they see in that is a very scary, threatening act that makes them feel highly vulnerable,’’ Tina says.

Over recent months, the ONYHS has adopted a trauma informed approach to its psychosocial assessment at intake to avoid young people reliving painful events in their past.

In addition, to provide consistent support, limit disruption and foster stability, one youth case worker now works during the day at Carlow Place, Monday to Friday.

“Taking responsibility for understanding how trauma impacts their past allows us to make more informed responses in the support we provide to each young person,’’ Tina says.

*This week we are marking Homelessness Week (August 7-13). The national campaign aims to raise awareness of the experiences and challenges faced by people living out of home. The theme of this year’s week is ‘Action and Innovation‘ and we will be highlighting some of the ways we are supporting young people to stay safe, remain connected with their communities, and build their independence. Centacare provides specialist youth homelessness services, and accommodation support for women and children experiencing domestic violence, in regional and metropolitan South Australia.

#HW2017 #endhomelessness and #innovationinhomelessness





Today we mark the beginning of Homelessness Week. Coordinated by Homelessness Australia, this national campaign aims to raise awareness of people living homeless and the challenges they face. This week we will be highlighting the ways Centacare is supporting young people as we celebrate action and innovation across the homelessness sector.


A new transitional housing project in the north is helping young males to exit homelessness and prepare for their future.

Centacare has partnered with Hope Central at Elizabeth to redevelop two maisonettes and house four males aged 18 to 25 years.

The young people can lease the properties, owned by the church, for up to 18 months, providing they are on an independent income and engaged with a case worker through Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homelessness Service.

Executive Manager Megan Welsh says the project aims to bridge a gap in affordable housing for young males living homeless, or at risk of homelessness, whose only other option is accommodation at a city boarding house.

“Finding safe and appropriate housing for young men in that age group is a lot more difficult than it is for women who are often pregnant or parenting and therefore have more options around housing,’’ she said.

In May, the first tenants moved into the properties which each have a shared kitchen but separate lockable bedroom and living areas.

“Our hope is that they increase their independent living skills, including how to budget and maintain a home but also how to be a good neighbour,’’ Megan said.

“Most importantly it’s giving the young men a rental history. That’s part of the problem: getting a start.’’

The project has simultaneously benefitted job seekers, with Centacare’s Work Ready Training participants involved in fitting out and renovating the properties.

“It’s been a very exciting project to work on because it’s been a community effort,’’ said Wendy Brooks, Operations Pastor, Hope Central.

“We’ve never done anything like this before so to be able to work with other groups of people who had the expertise we didn’t has been amazing.’’

Tina Breen, Senior Social Worker, said there was a misconception vulnerable young males were less at risk than females.

“We know that young men are less likely to access support but are at greater risk of social isolation if they disconnect from family, friends and society.

“The longer their mental and physical health goes downhill, the less likely their chance of recovery.

“If they can’t get a motel room and don’t have the option of respite and safety supports that females do, then often they will engage in illegal activity or connect with people that are undesirable simply to access some form of accommodation.’’

Besides providing a stepping stone to longer-term housing, the Hope project is connecting young people to community, Tina says, highlighting their welcome participation in church activities, such as free Sunday breakfast.

*This week we are joining in the national campaign to highlight homelessness across Australia. Coordinated by Homelessness Australia, National Homelessness Week (August 7-13) aims to raise awareness of the experiences and challenges faced by people living out of home. The theme of this year’s week is ‘Action and Innovation‘ and we will be highlighting some of the ways we are supporting young people to stay safe, remain connected with their communities, and build their independence. Centacare provides specialist youth homelessness services, and accommodation support for women and children experiencing domestic violence, in regional and metropolitan South Australia.

#HW2017 #endhomelessness and #innovationinhomelessness



Centacare has launched a new website to support you in bringing your NDIS plan to life.

The site realigns our disability and psychosocial supports into one easy-to-use resource to help you map your NDIS journey and achieve your goals.

As the gateway to our support services, the website’s key features make it easy for you to find what you need and where, quickly and easily.

At Centacare, you come first!

We have been providing disability and mental health supports to the community for more than 30 years.

We are excited about drawing on this experience to work with you to create a plan tailored to your needs, ensuring stability, security and consistency as an NDIS participant.

On our website you can:

  • Search our person-centred supports to help you make choices about how you wish to live your life and pursue your goals
  • Explore our service points within metropolitan and regional South Australia. We’ll even direct you to get there!
  • Engage our responsive and helpful NDIS team to come to you
  • Access peer and support coaches, and allied health workers, who understand what it takes to harness your skills to make the most of everyday life
  • Forge a career in disability and mental health services through our employment section. Search and apply for roles and discover new opportunities in the sectors.
  • Review our services through the eyes of others
  • Keep up-to-date with our news through Centacare’s digital and social media platforms, including Facebook, Vimeo and Twitter.
  • Develop an evolving partnership as we respond to your changing needs

“Centacare acknowledges the importance of supporting individuals to make their own positive, meaningful choices in their lives through implementing and fostering an active support model,’’ said Lauren Lo Basso, Assistant Executive Manager, Disability Services said.

“Sometimes knowing where to start, or even the type of service you are looking for, can be overwhelming.

“We hope this new tool takes away some of that worry, as we work to provide you with new opportunities to maximise your independence, make connections and achieve your goals as valued members of the community.’’

New Netflix feature film To The Bone premieres today amid concern it glamorises anorexia nervosa.

At Centacare, we are mindful this may act as a trigger for vulnerable young people living with, or at risk of, an eating disorder.

However, we acknowledge it also may reduce stigma and raise awareness of eating disorders, and the importance of seeking help.

Our friends at headspace and the Butterfly Foundation have issued some useful resources to support people who may find the film’s content distressing, and for parents who are concerned about their children.

Centacare’s PACE service is also here to help.

Through our peer workers who have a lived experience of eating disorders, we offer one-on-one, group and referral support.

PACE Manager Nigel Wyatt is encouraging parents to engage in conversation with young people around the film which follows the journey of a 20-year-old woman living with anorexia.

To The Bone is based on writer and director Marti Noxon’s personal struggle with eating disorders.

Noxon has said she hopes the film will start conversation around an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconception.

“One way or another, it is going to bring to the forefront of people’s thinking a significant and very dangerous issue,’’ PACE Manager Nigel Wyatt said.

“We hope it will help to reduce stigma and promote an attitude of seeking help but are mindful people living with an eating disorder may struggle to view the content objectively.

“Eating disorders are quite often incredibly competitive illnesses and comparison to others can be a problem.

“We encourage people and families living with some of the complexities raised in the film to seek support.’’

For more information about the services we offer to support people living with an eating disorder, please phone our PACE team on 8159 1400.
Looking for fun activities for the kids? Wandana Community Centre has you covered!


  • Dance + drama workshop

Bust some moves on the dance floor and take a drama workshop with a VIP Dance instructor at Wandana Community Centre next week.

Cost: FREE
When: Tuesday, July 18
Ages: 5 years and above
Time: 11am-12pm

Light snack provided. For more information and to book a place in the workshop, please phone the Wandana team on 8261 8124. Find the fun at 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains.


  • Paper mache + Lego extravaganza

Whip up a paper mache creature and use Lego to bring your imagination to life! Be as creative as you like! We’ve split this create + make session into two age groups so nobody misses out.

Cost: FREE
When: Thursday, July 20
Ages: 5 years and above
Time: 10am-12pm

Ages: 9 years and above
Time: 1-3pm

Light snack provided. For more information and to book a place in the workshop, please phone the Wandana team on 8261 8124. Find the fun at 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains.



IT’S the little things that mean the most to foster carers Roy and Lyn – first steps, a loose tooth, muddled words, learning the lyrics to a goodnight song.

No matter how tiny their foster child’s milestone, they celebrate it.

“It can be as simple as using a knife and fork,’’ Lyn says.

“The fact you can help a child achieve something; if it’s not their full potential, that they learn to do something.’’

The couple joined Centacare’s Specialist Family Preservation Foster Care program more than three years ago.

When an Aboriginal baby was placed in their care, they turned to her birth mother for cultural understanding.

This open communication stopped “confusion and misinterpretation’’ along the way, Lyn says, and enabled the girl to maintain connection to her cultural roots.

It also meant her family could share in their daughter’s achievements on their journey towards reunification.

“These children, regardless of what’s happened to them in the past, still want that contact; they still want to see family and Centacare offers that in a very safe environment,’’ Lyn says.

SFPFC program Manager Rachel Kemish is urging South Australians from a mix of family types to get involved in fostering.

The program offers well supported short-term placements for children aged 0 to 12 years while they are unable to live at home. Currently, there are 22 children, of which five are Aboriginal, placed in the program.

Rachel says more households are needed to provide temporary care for children where there is a plan for them to be reunified with their family. The assessment process takes up to five months to complete.

Foster carers receive Aboriginal cultural competency and therapeutic training and development, an enhanced allowance and intensive support.

“Every child, regardless of their cultural background, needs a safe and loving home,’’ Rachel says.

“Foster carers come in all shapes and sizes. We would love to hear from Aboriginal families too, because we are committed to connecting children with their communities and nurturing their sense of belonging and cultural identity.

“Together we work as a team to support children to make the transition home.’’

The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care is ten times that of other children.

“At Centacare, you can ring up and the help is there; that’s the big advantage,’’ Lyn says.

“You’re not going in not knowing what challenges there may be along the way.’’

We are holding Specialist Foster Care information sessions on Monday, July 31, at Portland Football Club, 16 Baynes Place, Port Adelaide, from 6.30-8pm and  Thursday, August 31, at Wandana Community Centre, 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains, from 6.30-8pm.  If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, please phone our team on 8159 1400 or email


Meeting the Challenge

Centacare Catholic Family Services is a Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Client Services

45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700 | F 08 8232 8920

Opening Hours

Monday – Tuesday | 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Thursday | 9am – 9pm
Friday | 9am – 5pm

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