CatholicCare formerly known as Centacare, is a ministry of the Diocese of Parramatta. In fact, it is the official charity of the Diocese. So, what is it, where is it and what does it do?
CatholicCare offers a wide range of services all designed to help individuals and families face difficult times or difficult issues in their lives. It could be a marriage break-up, a difficulty in relating with teenage children, a gambling problem affecting the whole family as well as the individual. In these days of financial stress many people find themselves in debt or have budgeting problems which could be chronic or short-term.
We care for young pregnant women from 18-25 years old who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. CatholicCare offers Counselling for people experiencing parenting issues with children up to two years of age, also covers still births, miscarriages, unexpected pregnancies. Our family preservation service works with families at risk of having their children removed and helps them re-establish a secure family life.
Our services for people with a disability include home care packages and plan management. Mamre Garden Services employs people with a disability in a supported environment.
Drop-in centres operate in Springwood and Emerton where Aboriginal Catholic Services is located.
Why does the Diocese commission CatholicCare to do this? Our mission is to be the compassionate face of Christ to all who approach us for help. And all means all: irrespective of ethnicity, economic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation. All are welcome and treated with the respect that their dignity as a human person demands.
Some people have short-term needs or temporary needs; others have more deep-seated issues and may need to access different services over a longer period of time. Some people in mid-life or older have not attended to an issue which has affected their lives for years. We hope that their encounter with CatholicCare will re-kindle the hope that is in them. It is a privilege for our staff to be permitted to share the lives of clients and to help them move to peace of mind, greater confidence in their own capacity and a renewed zest for life.
Our staff are fully trained professionals who provide services in strict confidentiality. Many of our services are funded by the State or Commonwealth governments and we have accreditation and reporting obligations to them. Our financial accounts are externally audited annually. We also voluntarily submit ourselves to an audit against internationally recognised standards of management and work, health and safety. Our front-line staff are supported by a committed group of ‘back of house’ staff who manage finance, human resources, procurement, quality, compliance, maintenance, and all the nuts and bolts needed to keep the organisation running.
In the governance of CatholicCare, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv is assisted by an Advisory Council composed of individuals external to CatholicCare who bring a mix of legal, financial, and management expertise to the table.
You may have seen the ABC series Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds. Who could forget the scenes where the children melted the hearts of some of the ‘grown-up’ who pretended to be far crustier than in fact they were!
All in stark contrast to the horrific findings of the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety. Against this backdrop Catholic Care was pleased to join with other CatholicCares in NSW and become part of the Community Visitors Scheme. Volunteers visit people in residential care who are deemed by the facility to be socially isolated. This is in addition to our already established service of social inclusion, centred in Blacktown.
Our second new service kicking off in late 2019 focuses on the African refugees and is called Project Afriq. One of the main problems facing the African community in the Blacktown area is the separation/dislocation of the family unit due to relationship breakdown between parents and children as they make their way in a new land and a new culture.
CatholicCare counsellors and community workers have identified cultural parenting issues as a barrier to intergenerational harmony within the African community and a key factor in the difficulties African adolescents face in the wider Australia community.
Project Afriq attempts to provide a space of safety and trust in which Africans, and particularly African women, can explore these issues and negotiate cultural differences to the benefit of all.
A Mission of Love
CatholicCare’s mission is founded in love, in the love God has for us and therefore in its essence it is relational. CatholicCare’s interactions with clients and between staff members and collaborators moves beyond transaction to relationship. It is our hope that we mirror in our lives an interactions the love that God has for us.
For more information about CatholicCare visit ccss.org.au or phone (02) 8843 2500.