Caboolture Family Network commenced in June 2003. The vision for Caboolture Family Network has always remained the same. To provide a strengths-based person-centred support for families who have a family member with a disability living within the family home. They believed in offering a service that:
- partnership with a person with a disability, their family and/or carer and the wider community;
- choices in their own lives;
- dignity, respect, privacy, confidentiality and accountability ;
- without discrimination;
- raise concerns without recriminations;
- social and physical inclusion into the local community.
Always front of mind was that the service would be a holistic model that was extremely flexible in its approach. It was also to be family-centred in its approach as opposed to a service-centred approach.
The biggest challenge Caboolture Family Network’s steering committee in the early stages was the procurement of the respite house. Every single person associated with Caboolture Family Network; co-ordinators, auspicing bodies, steering committee members, staff were adamant that they didn’t want to purchase or build a respite facility. They wanted to create a retreat.
Their vision was to create a welcoming and homey 3-bedroom, wheelchair accessible retreat, built along environmentally sensitive and sustainable principles. Their mental picture saw the retreat nestled into a small farmlet with interest spots around the property – chickens, small farmyard animals, floral and organic vegetable gardens and orchards. So they set about searching for exactly the right place, either land they could build on or an already established home they could modify.
In April 2004, a suitable house which ticked all the boxes was found. It was a three-bedroom home on 2½ acres of land bordering Elimbah. It was reasonably priced and close to Caboolture CBD. Plans for the retreat went to the architect then to the Caboolture Shire Council for approval and the builder collected the approved plans and commenced modifications on July 7, 2004.
The official opening of the short-term centre-based respite house “Retreat” took place at the Retreat, 17 D. Newman Court, Caboolture, on Saturday, February 18, 2006 by the Honourable Warren Pitt MP, Minister for Communities and Disability.
CFN has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2003. From its humble beginnings in the garage of the offices of its auspice body, it has spread its wings and moved in 2015, to Number 10 Grant Road, Morayfield. During this time Caboolture Family Network has also changed its name, to simply, CFN. The name change reflects the ever-growing demand for CFN’s services beyond the Caboolture area and because we have always been referred to as CFN in that typical Australian tradition of abbreviating all our words!
The CFN office, wherever it’s locale, has often been described as a place of warmth and acceptance and the Retreat has reached and surpassed everybody’s expectations and is looked upon as a place of fun, love and laughter.
Since opening our doors in 2003 we have supported hundreds of individuals with disabilities and their families or carers. Some of whom were seeking one off respite; some seeking regular respite and some who, for whatever reason, find themselves unable to have their family member live in the family home.
We have supported siblings in group activities to share their stories with their peers and to learn some coping skills, as well as just to have the opportunity for some time out with the focus being on them and on having fun.
CFN’s Enthuse program has been going from strength to strength with young people learning a range of new skills. Skills they will use to pursue their goals of living independently, finding paid employment and getting out and about in their local community.
Many families have participated in PATH planning and in the process been able to set with important others in their lives, clear goals and direction for a good life for their family member now and the future.
We have our annual traditions such as Melbourne Cup functions and Christmas Parties and we also host various information sessions to ensure the families we serve are kept abreast of important sector issues.
While every family’s journey is different, one thing they all have in common is the need for a service that does not judge them, that does not discriminate; that offers support and encouragement to achieve the very best outcome for their family; a service willing to share not just the successes, but to be there through the struggles, the despair, the frustration, the disappointments; a service that gives of itself with kindness, dedication and understanding. A service with vision, purpose, dreams and principles.
CFN is a place where people and ideas come together. We work toward a common goal and that is to create a better world for people with disabilities and those who provide love and support to them. Our aim continues to be to ensure that everything we do, both at a service and a community level, is geared towards creating this world .