In early 2016, Port Adelaide legend Gavin Wanganeen visited Ocean View College to start a push to shape the attitudes of young men through the Power to End Violence Against Women program.

Seven years and 11,020 students later, the nationally recognised primary prevention initiative yesterday returned to the college to mark its historic 150th school visit.

Port Adelaide Football Club captain Tom Jonas joined Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines and Magpies skipper Cam Sutcliffe in the classroom to celebrate the achievement, which follows the program’s 10,000th student milestone in August last year.

PTEVAW used the power of sport as a hook to start conversations with male Year 10 students about domestic violence and challenge gender-based norms that can lead to abuse.

Students explore rights and responsibilities in relationships, personal values, how to recognise disrespectful behaviour, and being a positive bystander. They further their learning at an annual leadership day and role model event.

The program aims to equip students with the knowledge to make informed decisions and become advocates for change – at school, at home, and in the wider community.

By year’s end, nearly 14,000 students across South Australia will have completed PTEVAW, which is delivered by Power Community Limited (PCL) and was developed with major partner Centacare, and the Department for Education.

Nationally, almost 10 women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse or domestic partner. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner, and one in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.

Ocean View College Senior Years Wellbeing Leader Narelle Ek said the ‘’haunting statistics’’ stick with the boys who look forward to engaging with the program each year.

‘’We have had a couple of students over the years where the message has been close to home and they’ve spoken to me privately to say they are so grateful that somebody is speaking out and that there is hope for change,’’ Narelle said.

‘’When I asked the students this week about the difference between this program and other respectful relationships education they undertake, they said having it delivered by the Port Adelaide Football Club and players has a big impact, especially if they are supporters.’’

Narelle said students carry their learnings forward by speaking at assembly and participating in community events, such as the Clothesline Project, to create whole-of-school awareness of domestic violence and harassment of women and girls.

‘’The school’s three values are respect, responsibility and resilience and the program relates to that on a number of different levels,’’ she said.

‘’I am all about equipping the senior students with a toolkit to help them thrive in life so that they think about issues, know where to get help if they need it, and recognise that they can be really powerful through the choices they make and the behaviours they choose.’’

A 2018 Flinders University evaluation of PTEVAW, which recommended involving women and girls in raising awareness of gender-based violence, spawned spin-off program Empowered in 2020.

Delivered alongside PTEVAW, Empowered aims to enhance participants’ positive sense of self and foster critical thinking about gender equity and women’s rights. Together, the programs visit 25 schools each year.

PCL General Manager Jake Battifuoco said the 150th school visit reflected PTEVAW’s continued  growth in the push for long-term change.

“The 150th school visit is an important milestone for the PTEVAW program and I’m proud of the team, and our partners Centacare Catholic Family Services, and the Department of Education for growing and developing the program over the last eight years,” he said.

“Primary prevention remains crucial in addressing the underlying social drivers of violence such as attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, and systems.”

PCL evaluation data shows that 91 per cent of students who undertook PTEVAW last year reported they have a better understanding of healthy relationships, and 97 per cent believe that domestic violence is preventable.

Working to change the underlying social drivers of violence by addressing the attitudes and systems that drive violence against women and children to stop it before it starts is one of four key domains in the new National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032.

Centacare Deputy Executive Director Pauline Connelly said PTEVAW provides an avenue for students to ‘’reflect upon the differing rhetoric and attitudes, pervasive in communities today, towards violence and control within relationships.”

‘’The importance of the Power to End Violence program cannot be underestimated or taken for granted,’’ she said.

‘’The program connects young people who are discovering what it means to be in relationship with another, with an elite football club, a welfare organisation and a government department, to assist young minds in finding their deeper, wiser selves, and taking this awareness into their relationships.’’

In 2024-2025, PTEVAW and Empowered will engage 3250 students across 50 schools.

Every Monday, David Watson drives from Glenelg North to Gilles Plains to volunteer at Wandana Community Centre.

He spends the morning in Wandana’s much-loved community garden, ‘’looking after people’’ and the plants, before taking the 40-minute drive home.

On Tuesday, David is back on the road, delivering fare as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels.

The past Holden worker, who spent 40 years on the factory floor working with apprentices, is passionate about giving back to community.

Wandana Community Centre volunteers David Watson (back) and Rob Carver.

‘’It’s very important to get off the couch and do things,’’ said David, at an event to thank Centacare volunteers this week.

‘’Volunteering gives you the satisfaction of achieving a goal, doing things, and getting out.’’

Wandana Community Centre Coordinator Robyn Johnson jokes David is the ‘’chief run-around, holder of wood and balancer of wheelbarrows’’ in the garden each week, adding that he also keeps the Centre’s book trolley stacked with reads donated by his wife.

‘’I enjoy coming here and meeting the people,’’ said David, who has given five years to Wandana.

He highlights the friends he has met along the way, people like Rob Carver.

In his fourth year volunteering at Wandana, Rob oversees site maintenance and with his trusty four-legged sidekick, Dasher, lends a hand in the garden.

“I’m a doing person,’’ Rob says of what drives him to volunteer.

Rob and David were on barbecue duty at Wandana on Monday, as Centacare volunteers and centre participants gathered to mark National Volunteer Week.

The faces who give their time at the Otherway Centre, Stepney, were among the volunteers recognised for their generosity and service.

Mother’s Day will conclude a week of celebrations for young mums supported by Centacare services.

The annual celebration is an opportunity to instil confidence and pride in young women who are learning to parent on the back of childhood trauma and other complexities.

For Anthea Francis, Manager of Centacare’s Young Family Support Program (YFSP), it is a day to reflect on clients’ strength and resilience.

‘’Parenting challenges all of us in different ways, but for young mums with limited positive supports, it can be especially daunting,’’ she said.

‘’I am constantly amazed by their resilience. Often, they have been through so much themselves and have not necessarily had the childhood that you and I might have had, but regardless, they are putting their children first and striving to be the best mums they can be.

‘’To be involved in supporting them along that journey of parenthood, and to be alongside them in the ups and downs, is a real privilege.’’

Thanks to a donation from St Ignatius parish, YFSP sites across metropolitan Adelaide this week hosted Mother’s Day events, with clients gifted parcels of goodies donated by the Purple Bin Project.

A family picnic at Coolock House on Wednesday kicked off the celebrations, followed by a high tea at Louise Place on Thursday. On Sunday, young families at Malvern Place will gather onsite for a children’s disco and pizza night.

YFSP is currently supporting 53 mothers and 56 children across four sites, and four families who are transitioning to long-term accommodation.

Through onsite and outreach support, clients are assisted to set goals, re-engage with education, develop independent living and parenting skills, and work towards finding safe and secure housing.

On Sunday, Crystal Naidoo, a specialist reunification foster carer with Centacare, will remind the siblings in her family’s care of their mother’s love.

‘’I just hope she knows I won’t let them forget her,’’ Crystal said.

‘’I often say a little prayer in the morning, or before I go to bed, for all the kids out there who are not with their mums, and for the mums who are not with their kids, and for their dads as well.’’

Breathing Space case managers Caz McClure and Oakleigh Lehmann said Mother’s Day was a difficult day for some clients.

Based at Noarlunga, the service works with women aged under 25 years who have experienced removal of a child or children from their care.

‘’The conversations with mums who have raised Mother’s Day have been about being gentle on themselves, reaching out to their natural supports and acknowledging it can be a tricky day,’’ Caz said.

What is Legally Inclusive Practice?

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Legally Inclusive Practice (LIP) is a voluntary process by which parties in dispute endeavour to negotiate a solution with the assistance of a legal practitioner and a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP).

The Process

Client initiates FDR at Centacare. The first appointment for intake is undertaken and a request for LIP is made.

An invitation for the other party to join the process is issued.

The second party undertakes intake where any questions are addressed and confirmation about LIP is discussed.

Clients are advised to research and explore lawyers and legal advice or choose a legal representative from the list of legal partnerships who have contacted Centacare.

Legal representatives will contact Centacare and confirm process and attend to administration issues.

Both parties attend the first FDR session where full and frank disclosure of the asst and liability pool is undertaken.

Once confirmed, both parties attend their individual appointments with their legal representatives to verify the asset and liability pool and discuss proposals and any other relevant legal information.

An appointment is made for both parties and their legal representatives to attend FDR at Centacare where the proposals are made to each party via the FDRP, with both parties in separate rooms to consult with their legal representatives between FDRP attendance.

Any agreements are recorded at this stage and a mutual agreement to draw up a document is made at the conclusion.

The benefits

FDR is a non-adversarial, confidential environment where the FDRP facilitates conversations between parties, keeping the focus on the issue in dispute in a respectful and mutually agreeable climate.

Legal representatives can advise their clients in real time of proposals, decisions, and legal implications to assist with the outcomes.

Parties are in separate rooms with their legal representatives and are able to converse freely between discussions via the FDRP.

Fees are according to the Centacare fee schedule and are minor in comparison to court and legal expenses.

Contact us

For more information about Family Dispute Resolution Legally Inclusive Practice, email or phone your nearest Centacare LIP site.

Adelaide: 45 Wakefield St – (08) 8215 6700

Mount Gambier: 13 Penola Rd – (08) 8303 6630

Murray Bridge: Unit 6/2 Sturt Reserve Rd – (08) 8215 6320

Elizabeth Park: 34 Yorktown Rd – (08) 8252 2311

Families navigating separation and property settlement can now get on-the-spot legal advice at Centacare to help resolve disputes out of court.

Centacare has launched Legally Inclusive Practice (LIP) with the aim of supporting families to reach mutual agreement in a respectful and non-adversarial way.

Under the service model, legal representatives can advise their clients in real time during mediation of proposals, decisions and legal implications to assist families to reach fair and equitable outcomes.

An accredited, qualified Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner `shuttles’ between separate rooms to facilitate respectful negotiations between parties.

The process aims to support clients to achieve efficient and cost-effective outcomes by:

  • Providing legal advice on matters discussed in the mediation session
  • Assisting clients in the discovery of assets and liabilities
  • Encouraging clients to reach an outcome during Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)
  • Ensuring families and parents reach a resolution that is safe and in the best interests of their children.

Centacare is offering LIP across metropolitan Adelaide, and in regional South Australia, from the Adelaide Hills through to Mount Gambier.

The Family Law Act 1975 requires prospective parties to attempt to resolve their dispute before initiating court proceedings known as ‘pre-action procedures’.

The objective of pre-action procedures is to assist parties to resolve their differences quickly and fairly, and to avoid adversarial court action where possible.

Common disputes include the distribution and splitting of debt, loans and assets such as property, superannuation, share portfolios, motor vehicle ownership and even household items and valuable jewellery.

‘’Legally Inclusive Practice is a game-changer for families wanting to resolve their issues in a more cost effective and timely manner,’’ FDR Manager Andy Wong said.

‘’The fee schedule is minor in comparison to court and legal expenses.

‘’A family might spend up to $400 in mediation to reach agreement on issues that could cost them upwards of $30,000 to resolve in court.

‘’Legally Inclusive Practice is often a quicker, more collaborative and affordable option for resolving financial and property disputes and can lessen the emotional cost for families attempting to reach agreement.’’

Centacare has been providing Family Dispute Resolution for more than 30 years.

Andy said the introduction of LIP would not only strengthen the existing supports available to families but would help address a gap in services in metropolitan and regional South Australia.

‘’It will enable us to streamline the support we can offer families at what is always a very challenging time in their lives,’’ he said.

ABS data shows there were 56,244 divorces granted in Australia in 2021 an increase of 13.6% when compared with 2020 (49,510).

In addition to Legally Inclusive Practice, Centacare FDR supports include:

  • Evidence and research-based information sessions around how to support children while navigating separation
  • Child inclusive practices that enable the voice of the children to be heard by parents in a safe and supported way
  • Co-parent coaching to support parents to address challenges impeding their ability to work together in a respectful manner in the best interests of their children
  • Family law counselling for one-on-one support.

Special thanks to Marciano Lawyers and WestSide Lawyers for their guidance in developing this service.

For more information about Family Dispute Resolution Legally Inclusive Practice, email or phone your nearest Centacare site.

Adelaide: 45 Wakefield St – (08) 8215 6700

Mount Gambier: 13 Penola Rd – (08) 8303 6630

Murray Bridge: 1A/2 Sturt Reserve Rd – (08) 8215 6320

Elizabeth Park: 34 Yorktown Rd – (08) 8252 2311

Pictured, from left: Family Dispute Resolution team members Andy, Caroline, Pascale, Ceri, Rebecca, Ella and Gordon.

Case manager Atak sees his younger self in the people he meets through Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homelessness Service.

Their stories take him back to the year 2000 when, aged 15, he began couch-surfing with friends.

After fleeing civil war in South Sudan, Atak, who has nine siblings, had recently migrated to Adelaide with his family when he left home in search of freedom and space.

He was instead confronted with the harsh reality of youth homelessness and its associated risks.

‘’I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t focus at school,’’ Atak says.

‘’Every day, getting up and moving from place to place, it was hard.

‘’There were so many more options back then, but I didn’t seek support because I didn’t know where to go.

‘’Now when I see clients struggling, when I see their helplessness, I know what they are going through, but I also know their exit options are limited – that’s the difference. It breaks me sometimes.’’

A decade earlier, in the mid-90s, family conflict forced colleague and fellow case manager, Rebecca, into homelessness at the age of 16.

‘’I went through Centacare as a client, when I was younger, but I didn’t know that until my file came up on the system when I started here as an employee,’’ says Bec, now aged in her forties.

‘’I went into public housing early. A few of the first places I lived in were the walk-up flats everyone talks about.

‘’There was a lot of substance abuse there. I used to think about the movie Train Spotting (in which a group of friends try and turn their life around amidst the allure of drugs), but I never felt peer pressure, I was always strong in that sense.

‘’Living there got me out of a difficult situation, so it wasn’t all bad. Some good things came from that time. I gained strength and resilience and met some amazing people who are still my friends today.’’

Bec, a mother-of-three, joined Centacare in 2021 and sits beside Atak in the Yorktown Rd office in Elizabeth where Outer North Youth Homelessness Service (ONYHS) is based.

The service provides case management, early intervention, 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 regions.

Between them, Bec and Atak are currently juggling a case load of more than 100 young people, including children.

The duo sometimes draws on their lived experience to offer clients hope in the absence of solutions that are becoming increasingly harder to find as the rental crisis worsens and the cost of living soars, exposing the chronic shortage of affordable housing.

‘’I think our lived experience is an asset to the team because it’s an example to clients of what you can do; we have been rock bottom before, but we have picked ourselves up into something,’’ Atak says.

He highlights the nine years he spent living in a caravan in Pinnaroo while working on a potato farm. It was here he found purpose and the determination to re-engage with education.

‘’I came back to Adelaide in 2009 to start university and went to Housing SA for help to find a place to rent and there was a social worker there who lifted my eyes across everything,’’ Atak says.

‘’She said `Atak, I can help you, but you also must help yourself.’’’

He uses the shift in perspective to empower resourcefulness in clients who are struggling to remain optimistic in the face of complex challenges such as poor mental health and a history of childhood trauma. These challenges compound their experience of homelessness. 

‘’We don’t have a magic stick we can use to fix the issue so I say to clients, you are the driver, and I will sit as your passenger, and when I see a roadblock ahead, we will stop and assess together where we detour,’’ Atak says.

‘’I feel guilty sometimes that I’m adding to their pressures. Their mental wellbeing is often not stable because they are constantly thinking about their exit plan when they have limited capacity to find one, but we are asking them daily ‘have you done this or that?’’’

For Bec, journalling has become a way of “reflecting and reminding ourselves that as workers, we can only do what we can do, and unfortunately the issues are bigger than us.’’

‘’I share my story with clients if they are using their own challenges to define them and then it’s about pushing that limit to help them see there are good things beyond that,’’ she says.

‘’For me, I have my home life, but then I also went through quite severe domestic violence, and I have learning problems, with dyslexia, so there are lots of little things that might come up along the way with clients that I can relate to.

‘’A lot of the young people have a history of domestic or family violence, and there’s a big gap between people who can read and write as well, so it’s important to let them know they are not alone and that there is someone alongside them who cares.’’

Specialist Homelessness Services Collection data shows that on any night in Australia, 47,871 children and young people aged 0-24 have no home.

Each year, 42,615 children and young people (aged 10 -24) unaccompanied by a parent or guardian seek help from homelessness services.

In 2021-2022, ONYHS supported 482 clients.

Today is Youth Homelessness Matters Day, a national day of advocacy to raise awareness of the solutions needed to end child and youth homelessness.

Ngarrindjeri artist Lyn Lovegrove Niemz is fascinated by the different ways people interpret her works.

‘’I love to hear other people talking about them, giving their version about what they see and how it affects them,’’ she says.

‘’My inspiration comes from my own life events, my knowledge, and the love of being able to paint something that someone really enjoys.

‘’Each painting is different, and I develop in a different way too because of that influence.’’

Lyn hopes her latest piece, titled ‘Life of the Onkaparinga River’, will bring a sense of comfort to clients engaged with services based at Centacare’s new site at Noarlunga Centre.

Inspired by the “life force’’ of the waterway, the acrylic on canvas hangs in the entranceway and depicts Centacare as a central source of family connection and supports.

‘’I hope it makes them feel welcome; that they can walk in and be accepted for who they are, free of discrimination and judgement,’’ Lyn says.

RESTORE Intensive Family Services – South and Breathing Space, which works with women aged 25 and under who have experienced removal of a child or children from their care, are based at the southern site.

Breathing Space privileges the voice of young Aboriginal women to empower self-determination, address intergenerational trauma and promote the importance of culture.

The trauma-responsive therapeutic intervention – believed to be an Australian-first – delivers holistic, wraparound supports for women who have high complexity of need and present with a wide range of issues at intake.

‘’For Aboriginal people, it can be quite intimidating to walk into an organisation,’’ says Lyn, formerly an Aboriginal support worker at Centacare.

“Discrimination is out there but because of how society is today, it’s often hidden away.

‘’Art can give someone a sense of acceptance because they feel welcome in that place.’’

Centacare’s metropolitan footprint has expanded in the south with the opening of a new site today at Colonnades Shopping Centre.

Home to Breathing Space and RESTORE Intensive Family Services – South, the space aims to strengthen connections with families and the services we work with to support them.

‘’The clients live in this community, so to be present in community, with the families and young women we walk alongside and support is significant,’’ said Amalie Mannik, Executive Manager of Children’s Services.

‘’Cutting down travel time to go to clients’ homes has meant we are able to reinvest that time back into families, which is where it should be.’’

Twenty staff previously based at Seaton now operate from Commonwealth House, located near key stakeholders in child protection, human services, housing, education and employment.

‘’Building stronger relationships with our southern stakeholders and community services ensures stronger pathways for referrals and better client outcomes,’’ Amalie said.

Executive Director Leanne Haddad said the site was “turning hope into opportunities’’ in families facing complex challenges.

‘’The multidisciplinary programs that rest here are quite groundbreaking,’’ she said.

‘’Few programs in South Australia bring together social workers, clinical nurses, men’s and fatherhood workers, and financial counsellors – that wealth of knowledge which makes a difference to families beyond the mandate.’’

Centacare is the state’s largest provider of early intervention intensive family services which are also delivered in the north and Mount Gambier.

RESTORE South supports families with children at imminent risk of entering care through intensive in-home and community-based supports, with a focus on building parenting capacity to improve family functioning and child safety.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Breathing Space works with women aged under 25 years who have experienced removal of a child or children from their care and are therefore at heightened risk of recurrent removal in the future.

Collectively, RESTORE and Breathing Space supported 933 clients in 2021-2022, including 556 children.

‘’This site supports that incredible work,’’ Amalie said.

Centacare staff from across sites and services attended the opening.

For more information about how to access services, phone the southern team on 8303 6600 or email

Lyall Willis was wading through waist-deep water, trying to rescue a calf stranded in the middle of a paddock at Murray Bridge, when the reality of the once-in-a-century flooding event set in.

It was just after sunrise and Lyall and a farming mate had already moved 300 cows to safety, as water swept across their grazing flats.

‘’The calf was only a few weeks old, but he’d given up and was just sat down in the reeds,’’ said Lyall, a family practitioner at Centacare.

‘’I was up to my waist trying to get to him, thinking I’ll have to take my boots off soon because I’ll need to start to float.

‘’The water was flowing so fast, I really had to keep my wits about me.’’

Lyall worried he would spike a foot on sticks or get caught in fencing wire concealed beneath the water, or worse, stumble into a bay drain.   

‘’By the time we got the calf out, we were going across ground which was completely submerged but had been bone dry when I came through 20 minutes earlier,’’ he said.

‘’The flow was slow and then all of a sudden it was here on top of us, and that’s when we realized, this is big.’’

Nearly three months on from the Murray River flood peak, Lyall, who has lived in Murray Bridge for the past 30 years, says community spirits are lifting as the water recedes to reveal stark changes in the landscape and the local way of life.

Standing on high ground overlooking the usually bustling Mobilong and Toora Reserve recreational hub, Lyall points to a 50-acre forest on the vista. The trees were planted after the 1992 floods and are now swallowed by water.

‘’The forest will probably die, and the walkways and trails that have been developed over the years will be gone, so we won’t be seeing the area restored to full use for at least another 12 months, and who knows, maybe longer if we get big rain again in Victoria,’’ Lyall said.

‘’Looking at it now, it is spectacular and I guess that’s my philosophical take on it. You don’t get to see this view very often. This is mother nature, and you can’t stop mother nature when she lets rip.’’

The loss of recreational facilities is among the many changes the community is adjusting to in the wake of the floods.

For Lyall, the inundation meant putting Centacare’s popular Beyond Kayaking program on indefinite hold.

Funded by Communities for Children, the program has engaged more than 1000 adults and children since it began 10 years ago to reach families experiencing social isolation and other barriers to community participation.

Even with restrictions lifted, the risk of mosquito-borne disease is keeping kayaks off the water.

Instead, Lyall has been engaging with families through geocaching and scavenger hunt walks closer inland, and at Wellington and Monarto.

He expects demand for community services will spike as the impact of lost livelihoods, homes and businesses sets in for families across the Murraylands.

‘’The farming and dairy communities that had property or stock along the river have really suffered,’’ he said.

‘’I know of three farmers who had their levees break between Mannum and Murray Bridge.

‘’That’s a couple of thousand hectares that have been washed up and not usable and probably not productive for two years.’’

Lyall said some families had been forced to move their children from schools in Mannum to Murray Bridge after ferry closures added a 120km detour to the school run each day.

‘’The prevalence of mosquito-borne viruses is anxiety-inducing for parents and children so a lot of parents are keeping their kids away from the playgrounds for that reason.

‘’For other families it will the financial impact which creates stress, anxiety and uncertainty about the future.

’’That might slowly increase with the realization that we are stuck with this: we are stuck with the smell; other issues that are related to the impact of the flooding; what we see, the vistas, the walking trails, the grassland is going to take a while to bounce back.’’

But as the flood recovery picks up, so does the community’s spirit.

‘’The community resilience has come from everyone supporting one another; the realisation by people who have been affected that they are not alone in all of it,’’ Lyall said.

He adds that the floods have sparked conversations around mental health and where to access crucial supports in Murray Bridge and surrounding communities.

‘’We can’t control natural events, so we have to learn to live with it and be resilient,’’ Lyall said.

‘’I’m proud of how the community has come together and done that.’’

*Centacare offers a range of individual and family supports in Murray Bridge. For more information about how we can help you, phone (08) 8215 6320.

Alex Vlahos was told to ‘jog it off’ and ‘toughen up’ to manage struggles in early childhood.

‘’This created an ongoing emotional challenge for me going into my adolescent years because I had all of these emotions but didn’t know how to express them,’’ he says.

A Dads and Fatherhood Worker at Centacare, Alex is now helping to break down the stigma around men’s mental health so that fathers feel comfortable to share their own struggles and seek the parenting supports they need.

Part of Alex’s role is to oversee Dad’s Business, a program which provides dads in the north with a designated safe space to seek parenting guidance, referrals to services, parenting education, advocacy and other supports.

Fathers engaged with Dad’s Business say they feel more confident as dads and have grown as people since they started visiting the program’s base, which opened at Elizabeth Rise Shopping Centre in 2019.

‘’I work with fathers in an honest and transparent manner,’’ says Alex, who shares his reflections on father-inclusive practices in new research released by Centacare and the University of South Australia.

‘’This creates a trust and will lead them to feeling comfortable with sharing their thoughts and feelings.’’

Many of the fathers Alex meets are impacted by inter-generational trauma and their parenting templates provide limited emotional responses and coping mechanisms.

Through a strengths-based and child-focused approach, Alex uses fatherhood as a motivator to address challenges such as financial distress, alcohol and drug use.

‘’The most satisfying part of my role is supporting fathers to be reflective around their parenting and the type of father they want to be for their children,’’ he says.

‘’When given a chance, most fathers can be incredibly insightful regarding their hopes and dreams for their children and how they want their children to think of them.

‘’One of the major themes at Dad’s Business is encouraging men to open up about their mental health, something that is generally seen as feminine.

‘’Supporting dads to identify and then verbalise when they are struggling has been huge.’’

Alex highlights the role of Dad’s Business in connecting fathers to supports such as Circle of Security.  

‘’The program encourages a lot of self-reflection, which supports fathers to identify how they are currently parenting and the changes they would like to make,’’ he says.

‘’I am currently supporting a father who has had his children returned to his care full-time.

‘’We meet regularly and he provides me with his good news stories of the week. I am proud that Dad’s Business provides this father with a space to share his successes and challenges.

‘’Another father has been able to reflect on the impact prioritising his work ahead of his children has on his relationship with them.

‘‘The father has expressed wanting to be more present for his children. I strongly believe that these conversations wouldn’t be possible without Dad’s Business.’’

Alex would like to see more men pursue a career in social work and notes the difference male peers and role models can make when engaging male clients.

‘’Being able to work with families to influence positive change is an extremely rewarding experience,’’ he says.

‘’Men bring unique perspectives and skills to social work. Breaking down traditional masculine norms, particularly around showing vulnerability and the need to appear strong, is central to our work.

‘’Being a male worker is an opportunity to be a positive example of masculinity, which is beneficial in building rapport, challenging gender norms, modelling emotion and share personal experiences as appropriate.’’


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

Opening Hours

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

Quick Exit