It has been 11 years since the National Apology to the Stolen Generations but the healing journey continues for survivors and their families.

To commemorate the February 13 Apology and honour the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a community event will be held in Veale Gardens, South Tce, on Wednesday.

Join Centacare and other service providers and organisations from 10am for a day of healing, music, art, storytelling, reflection and community.

“Many Australians were unaware of the issues and the reason Aboriginal people felt so much hurt,’’ says John Lochowiak, Manager of Centacare’s Aboriginal Services.

“The Apology started an education process and put that pain into context for the wider Australia.’’

The hurt did not end that day in 2008, John says, but the Apology allowed people to move forward towards forgiveness, healing and understanding.

It also created a strong sense of optimism that Australians would one day stand as one.

“Apologising and forgiveness is so important to us,” John says. “It’s another example of healing.

“The Apology was something that we wanted to happen and it was good for all Australians because even though we’ve got a long way to go, there’s a lot more dialogue and people are addressing Aboriginal issues now.’’

John points to Aboriginal Catholic ministries working across the country to build culture, connection and opportunity.

At the Otherway Centre, Stepney, the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry brings people of all cultures and backgrounds together every week to share experiences and forge friendships.

“It’s a place that opens up communication,’’ John says.

“When people get talking, they find similarities in their differences.

“People catch-up, and that’s important for everyone, especially for Elders who need to continue the healing process.

“Talking to friends and telling people stories – that’s healing.’’

For more information about the event in Veale Gardens, visit


Growing up in a land of contrasts piqued Alicia Remedios’ social conscience early in life.

Born and raised in Pune, India, Alicia shared the cosmopolitan city near Mumbai with eight million people, many drawn to its colleges and universities.

“My family lived in an apartment complex with people from diverse cultural backgrounds but there was a massive slum next door,’’ she says.

Amidst the chaos of open drains, shops, shanties and overcrowed alleyways, many thousands of people lived and worked.

“I had quite a protected childhood but the slum community was always at the back of my mind,’’ says Alicia, who migrated to Adelaide in 2014.

“You could walk to it along the railway line and we would pass it on the way to school.

“It grew bigger and bigger over the years as more people came from rural areas and families got larger.’’

It was in the sprawling slum’s squalor that Alicia began her working life years later when, backed by a clinical psychology degree, she joined a non-profit focussed on empowering women and nurturing children’s wellbeing through learning.

“Poverty is the same everywhere, it’s just quite glaring in India because we don’t have a system that looks after disadvantaged people, so it really hits you and it’s quite confronting,” she says.

“I think I realised very early how important trust is in building quality relationships within a community and I needed to be patient in doing this.

“For me what was really powerful was tracking resilience. These were kids that did not have much at all and yet they were at the learning centre every day, bathed and with food, giving it their best.

“There was significant domestic violence but the women were amazing. Here were mothers that had been abused the night before but they still got their children to school and ready in the morning because they wanted so much for them to have a better life and an education.

“When I go back home now and walk down that street, I come across a few families I knew. I don’t keep in touch with them on a regular basis but I often wonder where they are, what they’re doing.’’

At 27 and feeling professionally stifled in India, Alicia migrated to South Australia and joined Centacare, first working on the Bilby Bus and later with mothers experiencing pre and post-natal depression and anxiety, as part of the Making Moments attachment program

Alicia credits these roles for teaching her about diversity within cultures, and reminding her of the importance of building trust in order to support others – whether in the slum, an outdoor play setting working with vulnerable families, or in a young mum’s home.

Currently a Training and Review Officer with Centacare’s Foster Care program, Alicia’s role involves training new applicants and existing foster carers.

“I enjoy listening to the motivations of people wanting to become foster carers and their commitment to the role; it’s a hard job and it’s amazing to be part of that journey.

“I also think it’s extremely important that we continue to work hard in finding family-based care for children. They truly deserve to have safe and nurturing adults in order for them to grow, learn and increase their sense of self-worth. Hopefully they can be reunified with their birth families if safe to do so.

“It’s a program that’s evolving and growing. We are a multicultural team too, so we all have different perspectives and I thrive in an environment like that.

“It shows a commitment to Centacare’s inclusivity and diversity.’’

For more information about foster care, please phone Centacare on 8159 1400 or email


Families who are separated or in the process of change are often faced with making difficult decisions about parenting, care arrangements and division of property.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) assists parents and other family members to resolve issues in dispute.

The service is child-focused with the needs and interests of young people central to any agreements reached, and is guided by our accredited FDR Practitioners.

In 2008, changes to the family law system made Family Dispute Resolution a requirement before applications can be made to the Family Court for parenting orders. This includes applications seeking changes to existing parenting orders.

Centacare provides FDR support in Adelaide and Salisbury, and at our regional sites in Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge.

We can assist clients with:

  • Family Dispute Resolution and support
  • Child inclusive family dispute resolution
  • Property mediation
  • Co-parent coaching
  • Education sessions focusing on the needs of children in separating families
  • Post-separation groups for children

Click HERE for more information and to view our Schedule of Fees.

For more information, please phone Jeannette Fiegehen, Manager of Education & FDR Services, on 8215 6708.


All children have the right to a family environment where they feel valued and safe.

Foster carers provide this at a time when vulnerable children and young people need it the most.

Sometimes misconceptions and fears stop families from exploring foster care because they cloud what the experience is really like.

Let’s bust some of those myths.


I’m not married so I can’t be a carer

We welcome carers from all backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

Foster carers can be married, single or same-sex couples, with or without children, divorced or de facto.

All families are different. Centacare recognises this and embraces diversity.


You need to be able to care for a child full-time

Short-term and respite carers are an integral part of the foster system.

If you can’t commit to long-term care but still want to make a difference, these types of foster care may be the perfect solution.

Short-term foster carers support children while we find them a more permanent home.

Respite carers give permanent carers a break and act as another positive influence in children’s lives. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.


Only young children need foster care homes 

Foster care is not only for vulnerable babies and toddlers.

Older children and young people who are at risk also need a safe place to live and belong and develop positive relationships to assist them to heal and move forward in life.


Older children are more difficult to care for

Every life stage has its challenges and benefits. For example, an infant can be physically demanding and is completely dependent on a carer, whereas an older child can be more independent and attend school but may require more help with emotional regulation and role modelling.


 You need to have a big home

Children and young people in foster care need a space where they feel like they belong.

As part of this, children need to have their own bedroom. Sibling groups can share a bedroom but we ask that children who aren’t related have their own room.

Having a desire to make a difference in the life of a young person is the biggest requirement – we’ll help you negotiate the rest.


I’m too old to be a foster carer

Age is not a barrier to becoming a foster carer.

If you yearn to be a positive influence in the life of another and are in a position to provide consistent care for a child, Centacare would love to hear from you.

Many retired couples are able to fill the `empty nest’ by caring for children and young people in need. Their wealth of life experience makes them fantastic mentors, especially for adolescents, as they have lived experience with that age group from parenting their own children.


You need to be a perfect parent

Nobody’s perfect! What counts is that you have a genuine interest in making a positive contribution to a young person’s life.

We’ll work with you to equip you with the skills you need for success and will provide you with ongoing support, guidance and training to develop your skills and knowledge and to assist you in your fostering journey.


I don’t have the skills to foster a child

We all need to start somewhere in whatever roles we play in life.

Centacare will be there every step of the way to support you on your foster care journey.

We provide all the training and resources you’ll need to be the best carer you can be.


For more information about becoming a foster carer, phone our team on 8159 1400 or email 

One third of children living in out-of-home care in South Australia are aged 12-17 years. Finding them homes can be difficult because of the perception they are less at risk than babies and toddlers and are more demanding to care for. But children and young people of all ages need a safe place to live and belong.

While the number of children in state care has grown recently, there are now fewer families coming forward to help them.

When foster carers do open their hearts and homes, they often limit themselves to babies and toddlers. Young people are equally as vulnerable. They too need a safe place to develop positive relationships to assist them to heal and move forward in life.

Why do we need foster carers?

Children are being removed from homes at a faster rate than carers are approved. This creates a gap in which children then reside in residential care facilities with rotational carers because there are no available family-based options.

We need more carers to step forward and, when they do, to have an open mind about the ages of children they could potentially care for.

How is age a barrier to finding a young person a foster home?

A reoccurring challenge we see through our work at Centacare is foster families limiting themselves to the 0-4 year age group.

This makes it harder to find family-based placements for older children and adolescents, because of the reluctance of many carers to take on those age groups and the stigma associated with this.

There is a perception that babies and toddlers may be less demanding to care for, however this is a myth and every life stage has its challenges and benefits.

For example, an infant can be physically demanding and is completely dependent on a carer, whereas an older child can be more independent, attend school and may require more help with emotional regulation and role modelling.

There are children that are actively engaged in school from the age of five and up, who would thrive in a family home but unfortunately their age acts as a barrier for being able to source a home.

What are the core qualities we look for in a foster carer?

The core qualities we look for in foster carers are not determined by the age of the child they will be caring for. They apply across all age groups.

We look for carers who can provide safe homes, are able to build a relationship and connection with a child and are accepting, curious and empathetic.

Most importantly, they have a desire to make a difference in the life of a young person.

Many retired couples are able to fill the `empty nest’ by caring for children and young people in need and their wealth of life experience makes them fantastic mentors, especially for adolescents as they have lived experience with that age group, from parenting their own children.

How does Centacare support foster carers?

Carers are not alone. Centacare offers a 24/7 wrap-around on-call service, fortnightly in-home consults, therapeutic training and respite to provide carers with a break. Nobody’s perfect.

What counts is that you have a drive to make a change in a young person’s life and build a positive relationship with them.

We will work alongside you, offering guidance, support and training to develop your skills and knowledge and to assist you in your fostering journey.

What are the different types of foster care?

Short-term and respite carers are an integral part of the out-of-home care system so if you can’t commit to long-term care but want to make a difference, this may be the perfect solution.

Short-term carers support children while we find them a more permanent home; respite carers give permanent carers a break and act as another positive influence in children’s lives.

We welcome carers from all backgrounds, cultures and experiences. All families are different and Centacare recognises this and embraces diversity.

For more information about becoming a foster carer, phone our team on 8159 1400 or email 

Looking after our physical and mental health is vital. It is particularly important if you are supporting a loved one who is living with complex challenges. If you are a family member or friend of someone who is living with a substance misuse issue, taking care of yourself will enable you to take good care of them. Centacare Drug and Alcohol Service manager Gabrielle Preston has these self-care tips to boost your wellbeing.
Take time out

Looking after yourself is one of the most important things you can do to help your family.

Loving, caring and supporting someone who uses substances can be mentally and physically exhausting. To ensure that you have energy to support them, it is important that you take time out for yourself, maintain your own interests, and connect with others.

Consider accessing support for yourself to help talk through your worries and concerns for your family member.

Educate yourself around their substance use and explore ways to nurture your wellbeing so you can support them more effectively.

Accessing personal support will not only help you to manage the situation but will also model to your family member how to seek help without judgement.


Talking with a young person about their substance use might be confronting but this is important in order to understand their use and the sort of support they need. Misunderstanding what or why they use can lead to assumptions about what is going on, as well as increased anxiety about what might happen in the future.

Creating a space and time to convey curiosity and care without judgement in communicating with your family member or friend may lead to greater understanding and openness about the situation. This opens the door for further conversation and requests for help when they are ready.


Sometimes when a family member uses substances they may behave in ways that contribute to damaging relationships and trust. While the person may be under the influence or withdrawing when these behaviours present, be clear for yourself about what behaviours you will and will not tolerate.

Setting boundaries is best done together with the person you are supporting in a non-judgemental way, and with the message that you love and care for them but there are limits to what you might accept or do in response to their behaviour.

Ultimatums rarely result in someone changing their behaviour. However, love, care, support and clear boundaries will maintain connection and opportunities for change when your family member is ready to take action for themselves. Remember: the issue is the behaviours not the person.


One of the hardest things families talk to Centacare about is accepting that, despite their best efforts, they cannot make their family member change.

Many parents and families describe feelings of guilt, fear, and hopelessness, and that they feel responsible for `fixing’ the situation for their child.

Families that accept that they can provide information, love and care but ultimately can only control their own behaviour are more able to clearly identify what they will and won’t do to ensure their own self-care and maintain connection with the person that uses.


Consider connecting with other parents who have or are currently walking the same path as you. Family Drug Support holds regular groups across South Australia for family members who are supporting or have supported someone in relation to their drug use.

Speaking to others can help you feel that you are not alone, be reassured that recovery is possible and diminish the shame and stigma that comes with substance use.

The passion of flamenco burns bright in Adriana Diaz.

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Adriana began dancing aged six when her mother encouraged her to take to the stage to boost her confidence.

“I was incredibly shy,’’ says Adriana, an administration officer at Centacare.

“My two sisters had massive personalities but I would hardly ever speak in public and even introducing myself at school I was shaking.

Picture: David Xiberras – Luminar Photography

“Mum said I needed help to become more confident and outgoing. Now no one can shut me up. I took it to the extreme!’’

By the age of 12, Adriana was concentrating solely on the complex Spanish art form which uses music, dance, passion and lyrics to create what she describes as a way of life.

“I started originally with jazz and tap and then flamenco came along and I loved it from the first time I saw it. I thought, this is my thing!

“It just has a way of pulling things from you that you don’t think you have.’’

After five years spent training and performing, Adriana put flamenco on hold to study communications in the hope of becoming a journalist.

But as press freedom deteriorated in Venezuela and journalists were oppressed by arrest, harassment and violence, Adriana switched to public relations and advertising. She married and began plotting a move overseas.

“My country was in trouble and it wasn’t safe to live there and there were no opportunities for young couples to fulfil their dreams,’’ she says.

Within nine months, Adriana and her husband were on their way to Adelaide where a chance meeting reignited her passion for dance.

“Mum told me when I packed `take your shoes and your skirt, you might take it up again’ but I never thought I’d need them.

“Then I met this girl through other friends my husband met at a bus stop. It was just one of those crazy coincidences. She told me she danced at a flamenco school so I went to one of her shows.

“I was blown away. I would have never thought flamenco of that calibre would be in Adelaide.’’

Enrolling at Alma Flamenca, Adriana went back to beginner level to hone her craft. She is now part of the performance company and a teacher at the school.

In her adopted country, Adriana uses flamenco to release the pain of missing home.

“For people to feel the intensity of flamenco, you have to connect with real emotion,’’ she says.

“When I’m dancing I think about family and how much I miss them; that I haven’t met my nephew or my niece… all the things that break my heart.

“Flamenco is what keeps me sane. When I’m stressed at work or I hear a sad story from a client, the only way for me to let it go is to dance, and I find a way to channel those emotions so I don’t bring it into my marriage or my friendships or my work.’’

Growing up, Russell Ebert had an inkling all was not rosy.

He knew of arguments and disputes and he read people’s body language but, like most, he assumed everything was OK.

“Until you were exposed to it …it was sort of in the background,’’ Ebert says of domestic violence, in a new research report launched today.

“No one ever discussed it… our parents never discussed it. They might say … the relationship looks a bit rocky.

“What is happening now is disgraceful, unacceptable and foreign to the way that I was brought up.’’

A four-time winner of the Magarey Medal, Ebert is no longer silent about the scourge that until relatively recently he knew little about.

It was not until his involvement with Power Community Ltd (PCL) programs that his awareness changed, as did his belief that something needed to be done.

Ebert sprang into action, and today he opens young minds through the Power to End Violence Against Women (PTEVAW) program in classrooms across the state.

With the help of players, PCL facilitators and other staff including coach Ken Hinkley, Ebert works with participants in Year 10 to tackle ideals of masculinity and gender-based attitudes and behaviours.

A Flinders University qualitative study found PTEVAW, which began in 2016, has `achieved measurable impact’ around messaging about respectful relationships and positive bystander intervention.

Undertaken by the Australian Centre for Community Services Research, the study also explored Northern Territory-based NO MORE, a campaign founded by ABC sports broadcaster, Charlie King, and delivered in partnership with CatholicCare NT.

For more than a decade the NO MORE campaign has been asking men to stand up and take responsibility for their actions.

Over time, the program has grown into a whole-of-community prevention and awareness tool aimed at challenging norms around the prevalence of violence.

The linking of arms at community and sporting events has become a sign throughout the NT that communities are working together to achieve this aim.

For NO MORE, football has become a powerful cornerstone for community mobilisation to address family and domestic violence, says King:  “I remember having a meeting with the CEOs of the eight major sports in Australia some years later, going to them with a bit of an idea about, you know, sport maybe could do more about stopping violence and they told me that eight million Australians are involved in sport every weekend and I thought … ‘like what a movement, like what an army’. Imagine getting eight million people committed to saying ‘no more, stop the violence’.”

Messages about respectful relationships are sticking with male secondary school students beyond the classroom, new research shows.

Flinders University evaluated primary prevention program the Power To End Violence Against Women (PTEVAW) and found it is not only starting but also sustaining conversations that challenge gender-based violence.

The program targets Year 10 students in metropolitan and regional schools, and teaches them how to recognise and stand up to disrespect of women in their lives.

Launched today, the report highlights ways the program is inspiring secondary students across South Australia to become positive bystanders, and the influence Port Adelaide Football Club players have on how they think and behave.

Asked a year after undertaking the program how it had influenced them personally, students stated key messages were taken seriously and were being put into practice each day.

For example, challenging low level behaviours by calling out sexist banter, and learning how and when to step in when they witness inappropriate behaviour.

One boy said he was unaware of what domestic violence was until he had participated in the program, the report states.

“What is quite powerful is the way the program challenges students to look at certain behaviours, such as street harassment or belittling and gendered language, and how this manifests in a mentality that contributes to a normalised continuum of disrespect and inequity,’’ said Research Fellow Dr Jonathon Louth.

“While we are not in a position to measure the extent to which the retention of key messages transitions into behaviour change over the long-term, the study reveals that there is an increase in awareness and there are early indicators of positive outcomes.

“As it stands, the program is vital for starting conversations and speaking across generations.’’

Delivered by Power Community Ltd facilitators, retired Port Adelaide great Russell Ebert and current players, the PTEVAW program’s focus is on healthy and unhealthy relationships, and developing skills to safely challenge harmful attitudes.

Research focus group participants made it clear that their engagement and retention of key messages was built on the involvement of role models. Meeting players and senior coaching staff at follow-up events, including leadership days, was equally important, they said.

Ebert captured the impact in the report stating: “Each time you see that face, each time you hear about the Port Adelaide Football Club you will resonate with the messages that were given on the day.’’

Dr Louth said the report showed how the use of sport and elite players can `cut through’ unhealthy biases and complicit silence: “As a social glue, football clubs and communities are only just starting to reimagine their contribution to the reproduction of values and attitudes that permit behaviours or encourage silence in the face of actual or inferred violence against women.’’

More than 4600 students have engaged with PTEVAW since it began in 2016. The program is delivered over two weeks, with two by two-hour sessions, and is run in partnership with Centacare Catholic Family Services and the State Government.

“For cultural change to occur, we need to raise an awareness of what people don’t know they don’t know,’’ said Pauline Connelly, Deputy Director, Centacare.

“This program has achieved that with the Year 10 students, and with awareness comes choices.’’

Report recommendations include:

  • Extend the program beyond the Year 10 cohort to create a whole-of-school approach
  • Involve girls but in such a way that rejects them taking responsibility for the actions of men or boys who perpetrate negative behaviours
  • Commit to longitudinal evaluation to track the impact of the program within each unique setting
  • Develop student leaders and allies to assist with delivering the program to their peers

For more information, please phone Elizabeth Rowe 8215 6761 or 0437 062 302.



Every day Liz Greenham sees the challenges her son and his friends face when trying to do the simple things most of us take for granted.

“One of the biggest challenges I face as a parent and supporter of a young person with a disability is the barriers that he and his friends face when trying to experience the sort of life that everybody else can take for granted,” Liz says.

“For example, trying to access buildings, shops, restaurants, places that young people go.

“As Matthew has gotten older, his wheelchairs have gotten bigger and his world has gotten smaller.”

South Australia gets its first accessible outdoor music festival tomorrow when Sounds & Vibes takes centre stage at the Adelaide Showground.

What does that mean to Liz and her family? A lot, because they can finally take Matthew to a live music event where everyone is welcome.



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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