Cathie McGoran was working at Olympic Dam inspecting heavy machinery when the urge kicked in to help others.

Surrounded by fly-in-fly-out workers, Cathie watched social isolation, roster patterns and the strain of living away from family and friends take its toll.

“I would constantly have the blokes coming into my office to talk about their problems,’’ she says.

“A couple of them were suicidal and that’s when I really felt like I wanted to do something; that I should be helping people, not inspecting big machinery.

“I think it really changed what I felt passionate about.’’ 

A move to Adelaide and a stint in regulations at Aerotech followed before Cathie commenced her Certificate III and IV and Diploma in Community Services.

After a successful student placement with Outer North Youth Homelessness Service, Cathie joined Centacare full-time.

A Youth Case Worker, she is now the primary daytime support worker for young people at Carlow Place, a specialist homelessness service, based at Elizabeth.

At Carlow, clients aged 16 to 18 years are supported to review and address life circumstances that have led to homelessness or placed them at risk.

“My parents have been married for fifty odd years. I know how supported and loved and accepted I was, and it breaks my heart to see these young people, at their age, don’t have that.

“They are teenagers dealing with way more than they should have to. They should just be worried about who they like that day, not where they’re going to live or where their next meal is coming from.’’

Cathie’s approach is simple: listen to the young people, encourage them to dream, and support them to get their health on track.

“I just want to catch them up so that before they leave here, they know that they’re healthy and that they’ve got supports around them for their mental health and education.

“The things that keep me going are the little wins: When they get up and go to school, and they feel comfortable just to hang out, or they get their driver’s licence.

“Any little positive we celebrate big because they don’t seem to have had them that often.’’

In Homelessness Week, Cathie is urging the community to be more compassionate and understanding.

“Just take a step back. You wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

“People assume they are on drugs and doing whatever, but they are not the problem. Sometimes it’s their whole situation – a lifetime of a problem.

“Empathise and be compassionate.’’

Cathie’s role is being highlighted as part of Homelessness Week, an annual week coordinated by Homelessness Australia to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions.

Collaborative practice in the north is giving vulnerable young people broader access to crucial support networks.

Centacare is one of many organisations working together to wrap services around clients who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“When the community resources and funding are less than ever, you have to be creative and proactive in getting things to happen,’’ says Tina Breen, Senior Social Worker at our Outer North Youth Homelessness Service. 

“Over the past 12 months we have really focussed on setting up what we call a care team for each young person.

“That means pulling in anybody that’s connected to that young person, and really strongly and purposefully collaborating together; we value what each service can bring to the table and work out how we can cross-services the young person to meet their needs.

“It’s about what we can do together as a sector to give young people the best chance of positive outcomes.’

The approach is giving young people access to multiple services at the same time so they don’t have to navigate complex systems alone, says Tina.

“I went to a meeting yesterday with 12 different agencies supporting one person.

“There is a huge possibility he’ll have really good outcomes because he’s got so much support wrapped around him.

“It’s a really strong community to work in.’’

Homelessness Week is an annual week coordinated by Homelessness Australia to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions.

How would you feel if you were consistently told you were stupid but didn’t have the means to attend school? Reconnecting at-risk young people to education is crucial, says Tracy Ingram, Manager of Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homelessness Services.


A career on the frontline of youth homelessness has taught Tracy Ingram how education can change a life.

“When I first started, I didn’t understand the importance of education, even though I had a good education myself,’’ says Tracy. “I didn’t’ think it was crucial for a young person.

“But after years of seeing the disadvantage because a person can’t read or write, or they’ve been told they are stupid and they think they’re stupid,  it’s crucial to anyone – especially young people who have been doing it tough.’’

Manager of Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homelessness Service, Tracy (pictured) is passionate about giving young people access to flexible learning options – in and out of the classroom.

At Carlow Place, clients are supported to maintain connection to education, training and employment.

This support includes subsidising uniforms costs, help with public transport, and the provision of packed lunches.

In addition, workers advocate for clients experiencing challenges effecting their ability to attend school, such as accumulated debt from school fees and mental health issues.

Through Schools Assertive Outreach, Centacare supports young people aged 12-20 who are living homeless or are at risk of homelessness and are wanting to maintain links to education and further training.

In addition, the Reconnect mental health service provides outreach and early intervention support to young people aged 12-18 years and their families, where there is a risk of homelessness and emerging mental health concerns for the young person.

“Learning is for life, and we need to make sure it’s varied and different than the classroom because life doesn’t happen in a classroom,’’ Tracy says.

“Education for me is really important, but making sure we can help young people learn in different ways.’’

Homelessness Week is an annual week coordinated by Homelessness Australia to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions.

It’s always a great day when Liz Sparks comes to visit with a cute critter in her care.

A case manager with Innovative Community Action Networks (ICAN), Liz incorporates animal therapy to support students who are disconnected from or at risk of disengaging with education – invariably against a backdrop of trauma.

Accompanying Liz today is eight-month-old Banjo, an albino western grey kangaroo.

Banjo had his own tough start to life; his mother fell ill, leaving him dehydrated and malnourished.

“Mum was treated but her milk is gone, so he needs to be cared for now,’’ says Liz.

For as long as she can remember, her family has been nurturing injured, abandoned and sick animals.

Liz’s stepfather was a national park ranger at Cleland Wildlife Park, and the household became a haven for orphans of all shapes and sizes.

“We’ve had baby goats, pigs, deer, turtles, frogs, insects, kookaburras, tawny frogmouths – you name it! The little piglets are cute …

“ I’ve got a red-tailed black-cockatoo I take around too.’’

Liz says the animals have an incredible impact on the young people she connects with: “It’s about nurturing; for something to trust them and unconditionally love them is huge.’’

The animals help to build trust in the young people, and teach them about body language, respect, resilience and how to regulate their emotions and behaviours.

They’ve even helped improve attendance rates at the schools she visits, Liz says.

“Often they will change their behaviour in order to be able to interact with the animals, which is amazing to watch.

“One young girl was hypervigilant and wouldn’t sit down. She had a huge trauma background and wore her backpack everywhere. But now she’ll sit quietly and hold the animals.

“With non-English speaking young people, they help with aspects of talking and sharing.

“In a lot of Third World countries, they don’t have pets, so they think of animals very differently, This teaches them about respect for animals, and the contact can also break down some of the language barriers.’’

ICAN aims to support young people to more successfully connect with community, and engage them in flexible learning that fits their needs.

Learn more about the program HERE.

Centacare now has two vacancies in supported accommodation for people living with disability who are NDIS eligible.

This is a rare opportunity to set up home and make new friends in a supportive activity-focussed environment.

Our vacancies are located within properties in Whyalla and Elizabeth East. You can view them on The Housing Hub – a new way for people with disability to find suitable housing.

The Housing Hub advertises vacancies for apartments and houses that are owned by housing providers. It also has a library of useful information about housing options and planning your move.

To view Centacare’s vacancies, click the links below:

  • Elizabeth East – Open plan home with large well maintained secure yard and fully furnished shared areas.
  • Whyalla – Two bedroom duplex home with connecting internal door (four bedrooms total). Multiple shared living areas and a large well maintained secure yard.

Centacare staff provide consistent support to individuals with daily living and personal care, ensuring all individuals’ needs are met.

Staff are respectful of individuals’ homes, ensuring duty-of-care and dignity is maintained for all residents.

Tailored support to suit individual needs and goals includes:

  • Personal care
  • Daily living tasks – meals, laundry and cleaning
  • Support to access the community
  • Home and garden maintenance
  • Finances and budgeting
  • Health care management and support
  • Contact with family and friends

If you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Lauren LoBasso, or one of our friendly Client Services Team on 8215 6818.

More than 500 people are expected to attend the National Suicide Prevention Conference in Adelaide this week, with a focus on quality practice, research, and the voice of lived experience.

Joining international and national speakers at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Centacare’s Elaine Reynolds will present on Wednesday, July 25.

Elaine’s address `Navigating the Maze’ will explore way-finding with young people at risk of suicide, families and communities.

Through ASCEND, a youth suicide intervention program, Centacare supports young people aged up to 25 years who are at risk of self-harm.

The program provides specialised training to build the capacity of those who work with, or support, at-risk young people to respond appropriately and recognise warning signs. Our training builds on professional and lived experience.

“Our presentation highlights that without building knowledge and skills in the people within the young person’s space –  for example, their parents, friends, teachers, coaches – they will not find their way through the maze to enter any type of intervention to work with professionals,” Elaine said.

Showcasing the best work from around the globe and in Australia, the conference is recognised as an important vehicle for ensuring that services provide the best available support to those at risk in a timely and effective manner.

The event aims to:

  • Increase sector commitment to participate in a collaborative approach to suicide prevention
  • Enhance community participation in suicide prevention activities
  • Facilitate the continuation and development of quality suicide prevention initiatives

International speakers include David Covington, CEO and President of RI International; Carol Hopkins, Executive Director of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation; and Professional Paul Yip, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong.

For more information, visit the event website.





ARE you aged between 17 to 25 years and looking to enter the independent housing market for the first time?

HYPA’s free Get-A-Place advisory service is now available at headspace Port Adelaide, via case manager Reece Hammond, to guide you through the process.

Get-A-Place specialises in assisting young people who are seeking independent housing but have limited experience and understanding of what is involved and how to go about it.

Through Get-A-Place, we can support you to:

  • Identify the right accommodation for your needs
  • Understand the different housing options available
  • Clarify tenants’ rights and responsibilities
  • Apply for a rental property
  • Know what’s required for ongoing maintenance of the tenancy

For more information on the service, click HERE.

To get in touch with Reece at headspace Port Adelaide phone (08) 8215 6340 or click HERE.


The face of Murray Bridge may have changed in recent years but Centacare’s commitment to the local community has never wavered.

From drought to supermarket wars, helicopter hospital pads, proposed high-rise developments, devastating fire, and a race course relocation, the rural centre has seen its share of highs and lows.

And through it all, our services have been there to support families, children and individuals as they navigate their own journey in life.

Twenty-five years after opening our first Murray Bridge office, Centacare today officially marked the start of a new era with the launch of our Sturt Reserve Rd site.

The move from Adelaide Rd closer to the centre of town sees Centacare well-placed geographically in a multi-agency complex, conducive to sector networking, with 30 on-site staff.

Speaking at the opening, Manager Lynne Thorpe emphasised the importance of families, and Centacare’s child-focused approach in nurturing community resilience and connection so that families can thrive.

From dispute resolution, targeted intervention, Aboriginal support programs, school chaplaincy, family and relationship counselling, mental health and NDIS support, specialist domestic violence services and more, Centacare runs more than 10 programs from Murray Bridge.

They service a vast area, from the Fleurieu Peninsula, Mid Murray, Murray Mallee, to the Coorong and surrounding communities.

“A building is just that, bricks and mortar, and it’s the people that work in that building that make it the success it is, so I would like to acknowledge all of our Centacare staff for their commitment to high quality services,’’ Lynne said.

“It has been a privilege to work with the local community and be there through all of its growth.’’

Director Dale West said Centacare would “keep endeavouring to expand what we do’’ in the region.

He highlighted the impact of the Thomas Foods fire: “The hope that comes from that disaster is that the company is going to rebuild here. That will provide new opportunities for people in terms of employment, but it may also be one of those things – along with other developments – that will create more interest for positive reasons in Murray Bridge and surrounding communities.

“I’m really hopeful that we can not only be a part of that but be integrated into the necessary things that will be associated with that.’’


You’ve been to antenatal class, set up the nursery and picked the name – but where’s the manual?

Welcome to Parenthood for Couples is a free 90-minute relationship education workshop aimed at preparing couples for parenthood and equipping new parents with skills to manage family life.

In a relaxed setting we will discuss:

  • Ways to develop shared expectations of parenting
  • Who will do what in caring for your baby and home
  • How to keep talking to each other when you are sleep deprived
  • Enjoyable ways to nurture your couple relationship

WHEN: Wednesday, October 17, from 7pm to 8.30pm

WHERE: Level 2, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide

Please phone 8215 6700 for bookings.

Is your child pushing your buttons? Do you and your partner need to fine-tune your financial arrangements? Would you like to become better at problem-solving?
Our free parenting and relationship education courses have all bases covered.


Dealing with Change After Separation

A workshop for separated parents wanting to understand and manage the changes in their family.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • Share with others about what is different now that the family has changed
  • Learn about what your children need from you
  • Learn about communicating respectfully with the other parent
  • Identify what gets in the way of working together as parents
  • Develop strategies to deal with what gets in the way
  • Understand the developmental attachment needs of your children

WHERE: Centacare Murray Bridge, 6/2 Sturt Reserve Rd, Murray Bridge

WHEN: Selected Mondays from July to November, 10am to 1pm. Click HERE to view the schedule of times and dates.

Bookings essential. Please contact Centacare on 8215 6700 or email your details to:

This project is jointly funded by Centacare Catholic Family Services and Department of Social Services


What To Do When Kids Push Your Buttons

This workshop will assist parents/carers with:

  • Identifying triggers
  • Understanding what is behind their child’s behaviour
  • Learning how to defuse the behaviour
  • Developing behaviour management strategies

WHERE: Centacare, Level 2, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide

WHEN: Tuesday, September 18, 10am to 12pm

*Bookings essential. Please contact Centacare on 8215 6700 or email your details to:

This project is jointly funded by Centacare Catholic Family Services and the Department of Social Services


Managing Money in a Relationship

A free relationship education 90-minute workshop. In a relaxed setting we will discuss:

  • Different attitudes to money/assets/debt
  • Developing common financial goals
  • Communication blockers
  • Planning for life stage transitions (including contingencies)
  • Practical options
  • Where to get more information

Disclaimer: This is not an investment, financial or budget advice session.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 7, from 7pm to 8.30pm

WHERE: Centacare, Level 2, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide

Please phone 8215 6700 for bookings.


Intimacy and Romance

Intimacy is only possible in a relationship where both partners feel safe and valued by the other. In a relaxed and supportive setting, we will discuss ways you can be more attuned and connected to each other.

This is a free relationship education 90-minute workshop.

  • Do you feel like you and your partner have drifted apart?
  • Would you like to be more comfortable talking about your needs in your relationship?
  • Has intimacy become mundane?
  • Do you wish for a little bit more connection in your relationship?

WHEN:  Wednesday, October 31, from 7pm to 8.30pm

WHERE: Level 2, 45 Wakefield Street, Adelaide

Please phone 8215 6700 for bookings.


Problem Solving

Would you like to learn better skills to master the problems both internally and externally that arise in your relationship?

In this free 90-minute workshop, we will discuss the following ways to manage this area of healthy relationships in a safe setting:

  • You, me and the problem
  • Externalising and defining
  • Crafting a mutual solution

WHEN: Wednesday, October 17 October, from 7pm to 8.30pm

WHERE: Level 2, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide

Phone 8215 6700 for bookings.


Your Relationship and Your Family

You, me and your family makes three!

Success in a relationship is reflected in the way we work as a team. This may involve how we connect with the families and friends of our partners.

In a relaxed, safe and professional setting this 90-minute workshop will explore:

  • Cultural, financial, religious and different expectations around roles
  • Rearing of children
  • How we include families and friends in our relationship when differences may need to be managed.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 10, from 7pm to 8.30pm

WHERE: Level 2, 45 Wakefield St, Adelaide

Please phone 8215 6700 for bookings.




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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