CatholicCare Opens New Offices in Muswellbrook and Singleton

In an effort to better serve residents of the Upper Hunter, CatholicCare Hunter-Manning opened brand new offices in Muswellbrook and Singleton this year.

Bishop Bill Wright and Upper Hunter MP, Michael Johnsen, were on hand to celebrate the opening of the Muswellbrook Community Hub, which brings CatholicCare, Access Programs and One Door Mental Health under one roof.

“Opening our Muswellbrook office enables CatholicCare to extend the services we provide the wider Hunter community in general, but in particular to the number of young people and children who need our support,” said Gary Christensen, Director of CatholicCare Social Services.

“An increasing number of children are unable to live with their birth families, and the situation is now at crisis point.

“In NSW, there are more than 18,000 children and young people living in out of home care.

“In line with recent changes announced by the NSW government, CatholicCare is working in local communities to recruit and assess carers and hopefully entice more locals to consider becoming carers, which will assist in addressing the massive shortfall across regional NSW.”

Upper Hunter MP, Michael Johnsen and Bishop Bill Wright also officially opened CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning’s newest office in Cambridge Street, Singleton.

Through this new office, CatholicCare will expand on their existing services to provide disability support, counselling and Permanency Support Programs (foster care) to those in need in the Upper Hunter region.

Over 70 people attended the Singleton opening including representatives from Singleton and Branxton Parish, Department of Family and Community Services, Singleton Council, Singleton Chamber of Commerce, St Catherine’s Catholic College, the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, St Nicholas Early Education Centre, the Catholic Schools Office and CatholicCare.

“The opening of the new office is CatholicCare’s response to the strong interest from the Upper Hunter community in our social services, particularly from those interested in becoming foster carers, as well as to those seeking to access affordable counselling and clinical services,” said Gary.

“The new office also enables us to extend the services we provide the wider Hunter community in general but in particular to the number of young people and children who need our support.

“There are almost 20,000 children and young people in New South Wales in Permanency Support Programs (foster care) – and of these 49% live in the Hunter and Central Coast. By working with the local community, we want to help these children and young people.

“Because of the changing landscape of social services at both a national and state level, including the recent introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, CatholicCare’s aim is to diversify the services we provide in order to meet the needs of the people we support.

“Through our Permanency Support Programs, disability services, counselling and clinical assessments, CatholicCare will continue to connect with those children and young people in the community who are most in need of our services through offices such as the new one at Singleton.

“From actively listening when children and young people aren’t feeling all that great, through to providing a supportive and safe place for children, young people and those living with a disability, CatholicCare’s aim is to play its part in helping such children and young people reach their full potential.”

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Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.