Kookaburra Kids has been supporting children living in families affected by mental illness since 2002.


On the morning of Friday 6th December, close to 50 members of the South Australia Defence, Schools and Health communities, gathered at The Walkers Arms Hotel to attend an official launch of the Kookaburra Kids Program into South Australia.


The foundation provides weekend camps and school holiday activities, giving children and teens a break in a fun, positive and safe environment. The programs are evidence based, delivering age appropriate, prevention and early intervention mental health services, with the aim of empowering children to build resilience, lifelong knowledge, skills and abilities, let them know they are not alone, foster new friendships and connect them to resources when they return home.


“Our service is provided at no cost to families. Ongoing support from partners such as The Department of Veterans Affairs and Defence Community Organisation, corporate supporters, along with individual donors is vital to ensuring we can continue to support children experiencing family mental illness.”, said CEO Chris Giles as he addressed the guests.


Janice Silby, representative from the Australian Government Department of Veteran’s Affairs, spoke passionately about the work that Kookaburra Kids does and the Department’s involvement in spreading the word to ADF families. “The Kookaburra Kids Program has provided important opportunities to empower the children of current and former ADF members to reach their full potential. It’s clear that the Foundation is continuing to rise to the challenge in supporting the health and wellbeing of veterans’ families.”


Other guests in attendance included broad representation from national defence-related organisations as well as core State stakeholder groups,


“National expansion allows us to have continuity with these families in ways we never have been able to have before. An example of this is we had a registered ACT family who were being re-deployed to Adelaide, but are now able to continue with the program, allowing them to maintain some consistency in what can often be a tumultuous time for ADF families.


CEO Chris Giles and Head of Fundraising Grahame Ryan later attended the Kookaburra Kids family Christmas activity, knocking a few pins over with the families at the Bowland Bowling Alley.  “These Christmas activities are the culmination of our activities each year, and a wonderful opportunity to engage with the entire family directly and personally,” Grahame said. “It is clear what our program means to the children and their families – it is not only about putting smiles on their faces at the time of the event, but also an exercise in building even greater bonds of trust, particularly with the parents. The national expansion into South Australia has also helped create a continuity among the defence families, as many of them are now able to re-deploy into other states yet still continue their incredibly valuable connection with Kookaburra Kids”.


Children living with parents or other family members affected by mental illness are at risk of multiple adverse outcomes compared to their pers. Studies show children who have a parent with a mental illness are 50% more likely to develop a mental health issue without some of early intervention. This is where Kookaburra Kids can be vital.


There are over 2800 children aged 8-18 years registered to the program, with services currently delivered in NSW, ACT, QLD, NT, VIC, SA and Townsville. The program will commence in WA by mid 2020 while the 2020 activity calendar for Adelaide is currently being organised.


“We look forward to growing our footprint in South Australia. Any support in the way of referrals, volunteering and donor numbers will help us grow our programs, as we hope to extend our program to non-Defence families in the region in the near future.”


For more information, head to www.kookaburrakids.org.au or call 1300 566 525.


Media Enquiries

Chris Giles | [email protected] | 0410 692 879