Minister for Veterans’ Affairs the Hon. Dan Tehan and Treasurer the Hon. Scott Morrison today officially launched the Turnbull Government’s $2.1 million pilot support program for children of veterans with mental health issues, run by the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation.
The government funded program will give children of veterans with mental health issues assistance to build their coping skills and resilience.
The program will include recreational and educational camps for children aged eight to 18 who have a veteran parent with a mental health condition.
Mr Tehan said families played a critical role supporting current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members.
“When someone signs up to serve and defend our nation their entire family is also asked to make sacrifices,” Mr Tehan said.
“This program recognises that mental health issues affect entire families and the Government will support them.”
Mr Morrison said the program would allow children to bond with peers who were facing similar challenges.
“Kookaburra Kids is a fantastic charity founded in my electorate of Cook which has been successfully supporting children living in families affected by mental illness for well over a decade,” Mr Morrison said.
“The Foundation will use its current model to deliver activities specifically tailored to the unique needs of veterans’ children. The first programs are scheduled to start mid-2017 in New South Wales and ACT.”
Mr Tehan said the Kookaburra Kids program would build on other important work the Government was doing to support the broader veteran community.
“The Government provides free mental health treatment to anyone who has ever served at least one day in the full-time ADF for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and alcohol and substance abuse,” Mr Tehan said.
“The 2016–17 MYEFO also provided $3.1 million to further extend access to the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.”
For anyone looking to get involved with Kookaburra Kids, or if you would like to refer a child, please visit the Kookaburra Kids website.