Centacare is a diverse organisation with a rich history stretching over 60 years. Since the beginning, the services we offer have varied in response to the community we support. While many faces have come and gone one thing that has remained the same is the commitment the organisation and each of our people have to supporting the needs and aspirations of all members of our communities.
Explore some of the key milestones in our history below.
In 1958 a group of dedicated volunteers approached Archbishop James Duhig requesting to form a Catholic Marriage Advisory Council – and so our story began. They could see a very real need for marriage counselling and – guided by the same values that we see in Centacare’s people today – volunteered their time to respond.
Recognising a growing need in the community, with increasing numbers of mothers returning to the workforce, our first family day care opened on the Gold Coast in 1978.
The United Nations declared the first Year of the Disabled Person in 1981 with a goal to remove barriers to equal opportunity and community participation. Churches around the world were called on to play a part in developing a sustainable plan for the ongoing achievement of this goal. In response, the Archdiocese appointed Wilma Bowman to explore what the organisation could do to respond.
Having operated under many names since 1958 including Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, Catholic Family Welfare Bureau and Catholic Family Welfare, in 1984 we became Centre Care.
The dedicated parents of people with a disability and parish care and concern groups laid the platform in these early days for our disability support services. Through their commitment to ensuring that young people with a disability had a place to go and purposeful and meaningful ways to spend their time after finishing school, our first centres and day programs were born.
In response to the aspirations of people with a disability and their families for them to live as independently as possible we opened our first Supported Independent Living (SIL) house in 1989. This was made possible through tireless fundraising and efforts to lobby government by dedicated parents and community members. Today we continue to provide SIL in many locations.
Providing support for ageing Australians to stay in their own homes became part of our story in the late 1980’s. This was in response to the Nursing Homes and Hostels Review Report issued in 1986 which recommended aged care programs shift away from residential solutions and focus on care from home, under the HACC program.
The Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference made Centacare the preferred name for diocesan administered Catholic social services agencies in 1991 and in response we adopted this new name.
In the late 1990’s Anam Cara, Centacare’s dedicated mental health support service was born in response to Project 300. This Queensland project was designed to support 300 people successfully re-enter the community, with all of the support they required, following long-term stays in mental health facilities.
A new way of delivering disability services began for Centacare in July 2016 with the official commencement of the NDIS in Queensland. The period since has brough significant change as clients take control of their funding and we focus more than ever on caring about both their needs and aspirations now and into the future.
In 2019, Centacare Child Care Services re-branded to Catholic Early EdCare to strengthen for families, our ongoing connection to Brisbane Catholic Education and the entire Catholic education network. Continuing as part of the Centacare family this change allowed us to better share our story and expertise in the early childhood education and care space with families.
In 2021 we welcomed Xavier to the Centacare family. Xavier has supported children with complex disability and health needs since 1949 and has been a part of the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 2003. Bringing Xavier and Centacare operations together creatse new opportunities for collaboration and will mean we can better support Xavier clients as they transition to adult services.
In 2021 we have a fresh new way to tell the Centacare story. At the heart of our story are our people – and the commitment we share to doing whatever we can to ensure that everyone in our community is not just cared for, but cared about, in ways that help them live their fullest lives.