Cara Inc. was established in 1979 as a not for profit charity and was run by a board of management. It operated four specialist residential homes and provided support and advocacy for young women aged between 12 and 17, some of whom were pregnant or had a baby. Young women were referred to Cara Inc. by the Department of Human Services. In November 2016 Cara Inc. was merged with MacKillop Family Services.
Cara Inc. aimed to provide an alternative form of accommodation and a safe environment with support and advocacy for young women aged between 12 and 17. It offered therapeutic programs to assist young women to develop their parenting and life skills. It operated four specialist residential homes that were purpose built and designed to meet the specific needs of high-risk adolescents. Cara Inc. The Department of Human Services, helped fund the service.
Young women may have come from backgrounds of family breakdown and/or abuse and were removed from their home for their own protection. Formerly, these young women would have been unsuitably placed with offenders in the remand section of Winlaton Youth Training Centre
These young women had often been absent from school for some time and were encouraged to resume their education. Wherever possible, Cara worked towards re-uniting the girls with their families. Where this was not possible, the young women were assisted with their move to alternative accommodation, such as a Lead Tenant program.
A program within the Eastern Region provided accommodation, care and support to pregnant and parenting young women aged from 13 to 17 who were unable to live at home. These young women entered a residential program during their pregnancy and remained for up to 12 months post birth with the support of an expert team. The residential program was then complimented by a lead tenant service that was designed to support these young mothers and their babies after leaving the staffed residential facility.
After leaving Cara the young women joined an Outreach Program, where an Adolescent Support Worker provided assistance with peer support, education and developing life skills.
The team of specialist staff included a social worker, a family therapist, youth workers, specialist support, a Chief Executive Officer and administrative staff. Services included:
Case management / planning
Family and individual counselling, conflict resolution
Education and life skills programs
After merging with MacKillop, Cara Inc. became the Cara program within MacKillop Family Services.
Sources used to compile this entry: James Jenkinson Consulting, Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 22 December 2009, Last modified: 6 February 2023