Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation’s (Kookaburra Kids) intention to establish a national support program for children of current and former Australian Defence Force members who have been affected by mental illness became a reality on Tuesday.

The $2.1 million over the next two years committed in the Federal Budget will enable Kookaburra Kids to implement stage one of establishing an additional program specific to the needs of children from defence families.

This program will operate separately to Kookaburra Kids’ existing core program supporting all children living in families affected by mental illness, currently operating across New South Wales.

Kookaburra Kids has been delivering a comprehensive respite service and mental health education program supporting children living in families affected by mental illness since 2002.

This service provides early intervention and age appropriate mental health education in a fun way through free weekend respite camps and school holiday activities. Bringing together children living in similar circumstances, providing opportunity for them to share their experiences, removing feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Kookaburra Kids mental health education and counselling at the camps focuses on developing coping skills, building resilience and helping the children deal with issues that may arise in their daily lives.

“Our current program has observed increased registrations in the past twelve months from families suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of military service” said CEO Pam Brown.

“This was a catalyst in our decision to facilitate an additional program specifically supporting the silent victims of defence-related mental health issues, the kids. Thanks to the financial commitment from the Australian Government, children of past and current service men and women, including those serving in Australia’s longest war, will now be able to access support sooner and in a national framework” said CEO Pam Brown.

Kookaburra Kids’ existing program will continue to be funded and supported via successful grant applications, philanthropic donations, volunteers, corporate partnerships and sponsorship.

“On behalf of the Board, staff and volunteers at Kookaburra Kids, I would like to thank all our generous supporters for their ongoing commitments. We look forward to sharing details about the new Defence Kids program soon” said CEO Pam Brown.

For more details on the new program please contact our office on (02) 9525 7474.