On National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, we celebrate the crucial role Centacare foster carers Bindee and Karen are playing connecting two brothers to culture and country.


When Bindee decided to become a foster carer with her partner Karen, there was one person she couldn’t wait to tell.

Sharing the news with her mother that two young Aboriginal boys would be placed in their care was a poignant reminder of the past for Bindee, but one that also reinforced her hopes for the future.

“Mum is one of the Stolen Generation and when I told her what we were doing, that we would have two Indigenous boys with us, she said she was so proud,’’ says Bindee, of Kuku Yalanji and Nauiyu heritage.

“She said she wished she’d had someone to keep her connected to culture when she was growing up.’’

Since becoming the brothers’ long-term foster carers, nurturing their cultural identity and connection to country has been a focus for Bindee and Karen.

With the support of Aboriginal Cultural Consultant Les Wanganeen, they are researching the boys’ cultural roots and have bought them a digeridoo.

“We’re trying to find out what mob their mother is from,’’ says Bindee, who was raised in Darwin.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, purple, green; it’s about knowing where you’re from. That’s what completes you at the end of the day.’’

Bindee’s own identity has been pivotal in helping the boys “connect the dots’’ and understand what it means to be Aboriginal.

With Karen, she has provided opportunities and experiences to connect to culture, and the family has travelled to Darwin to spend time on land with Bindee’s uncle.

“My uncle has been teaching them the language too and they also Facetime Dad who’s from the Kuku Yalanji mob in far north Queensland.

“And if I’m on the phone to Mum, their ears prick up!’’

Karen laments the shortage of Aboriginal foster carers in South Australia. In the Centacare Foster Care program alone, half of the children are Aboriginal.

“I think it’s really hard for white or non-Indigenous families to try and connect kids to culture if they don’t know and live it themselves,’’ she says.

“It’s not just about going to a local Naidoc Week event. It’s much more than that.’’

Centacare Foster Care Manager Amalie Mannik says providing kinship care and intergenerational trauma are common barriers for Aboriginal people in becoming foster carers: “That’s why cares like Bindee and Karen are so valuable because they are able to connect the children in their care to culture and instill that sense of pride and self-worth.’’

*Today is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Children’s Day. The 2020 theme ‘We are the Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice’ honours our Elders – custodians of traditional knowledge, passed down to children through stories and cultural practice. 
National Families Week begins today. To celebrate the vital role that families play in the community, we will be highlighting some of the many ways Centacare supports families to thrive. Today we look at our Children’s Services Unit which celebrates the diversity in community and believes in providing families with opportunities.


Each year, Centacare’s Children’s Services Unit (CSU) provides support to about 340 families and 600 children across metropolitan Adelaide, the Murraylands, Mount Gambier, and the Riverland.

We aim to build parenting capacity that is sustained long-term through the provision of family supports, therapeutic interventions, the development of parenting and relationship skills and connection to community resources.

We work with families to identify and harness their strengths, build confidence and address challenges. These may include drug and alcohol misuse, mental health, domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, and abuse and neglect.

Our multidisciplinary teams consist of social workers, nurses, counsellors, therapists, administration, management and leadership.

“We work with vulnerable families to create sustained change; even the most marginal family deserves supports,’’ says Leanne Haddad, Executive Manager.

“The rewards are invaluable when families can stay together in a safe and supported environment.’’

We offer a number of programs for families, children and young people, from parenting groups, to home visiting programs, family support services, targeted intervention, specialist dad support, family preservation, reunification programs and specialist foster care services.

Staff work with the families to identify risks and target support to mitigate challenges impacting their capacity to parent.

“Therapy is provided alongside in-home supports to families,’’ Leanne says. “This is a crucial element that can lead to sustained change. The therapy addresses the underlying factors that often cause the at-risk behaviours.’’

How we can support you

Click on the links to explore our CSU programs and services

Do you have the desire to make a positive difference in a child’s life?

We want to make the foster care process straightforward…

  • Are you over 25?
  • Do you have a good understanding of the needs of children?
  • Do you have a spare bedroom in your home?

If you answered YES to all of the questions above we’d like to hear from you.
You could qualify to join our dedicated team of foster carers.

We are holding monthly information sessions where you can find out more about what’s involved in becoming a specialist foster carer, the assessment process, and other prerequisites. For more information about future dates please visit our Foster Care Information Sessions page.

Come along to get a better understanding of foster care, including why children need foster carers, a realistic view of the responsibilities of a foster carer, the important links foster carers can provide for children and their birth families, and the steps involved to become a foster carer.



Meeting the Challenge

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

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45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700
E enquiries@centacare.org.au

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