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Commonwealth Funding for Kookaburra Kids Defence Program

Summary

The Commonwealth Government will invest $7.6 million in the Kookaburra Kids Defence Program (Kookaburra Kids) to boost targeted support to children of ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who are experiencing mental health issues.

Kookaburra Kids was first supported by the Commonwealth Government in the 2016–17 budget, with a $2.1-million injection into a pilot program in NSW, the ACT, Queensland and the NT for 569 children.

This extra investment will see the program expand into Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia and provide support for up to a total of 1750 children.

The Program

Kookaburra Kids will extend opportunities for children up to 18 years of age to participate in residential camps. Camp participants receive psychosocial education designed to build mental health literacy and help children to develop skills and strategies in seeking help when they need it. 

Kookaburra Kids will work collaboratively and help refer veterans and families to service providers when needed, such as Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling (formerly VVCS), community-based social workers and psychologists. The program will have a strong focus on children of ex-serving ADF members.

Why is this important?

As part of the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, the Family Wellbeing Study found that despite the pressures that a military lifestyle can bring, Australian military families are generally resilient and find ways of coping. The study did highlight some specific challenges for ex-serving members, such as sometimes difficulty fitting back into family or civilian life after transition.  Providing support for Kookaburra Kids will help support families of veterans, and help honour veterans' support and sacrifice. 

Who will benefit?

This additional funding means that Kookaburra Kids will support up to 1750 kids, which is an increase of over 1100 above the current program of support.

Date of effect

Funding for this measure will start from January 2019.

How much will this cost?

This $7.6 million grant will be paid over four years.


See also: Joint media statement (27 October 2018)

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