The Cara Program

MacKillop's Cara program is a unique service that provides specialist accommodation, care and support for vulnerable children and young people who are involved with the child protection system.

A smiling young woman has her young son riding on her shoulders. Cara at MacKillop is one of the only services in Australia that

MacKillop's Cara program is one of the only services in Australia that provides pre and postnatal care to pregnant young women and young mothers who are involved with the Child Protection System. 

Formerly known as Cara Inc, the Cara program has been caring for vulnerable young women since 1979. Cara merged with MacKillop Family Services on 1 November 2016 to strengthen the support it provides to young people. The merger offers both MacKillop and Cara with opportunities to innovate, jointly advocate and increase the positive outcomes for the children and young people we support.

The Cara program provides specialist out-of-home care for young people, in particular young women who are pregnant or have a baby. We offer therapeutic programs to assist them to develop their parenting and life skills.

Typically, the young people we support have experienced trauma as a result of abuse and neglect, and many have been exposed to family violence, which can seriously impact on their emotional and social development.

The Cara program has specialist residential homes that have been purpose-built to meet the specific needs of young women and their children. Live-in ‘house parents’ are on hand to provide 24-hour support. 

The Cara program also assists young people with:

  • educational support
  • ensuring their safety, good health and wellbeing - and that of their child
  • reconnection with family (whenever possible)
  • developing independent living skills and strengthening their connections to their community

Young dads play an important role supporting their partner. We believe it is crucial to support the dads wherever possible and, when appropriate, each young father is able to have planned visits with their partner and child to participate in activities and attend parenting education and information sessions.

Morgan House
The Morgan House Young Mums' Program is unique and is currently one of the only services in Australia providing pre and postnatal care to pregnant and parenting young women who are involved with the Child Protection System. Read more

Catalina House
Catalina House operates as a semi-independent, transitional house for pregnant and parenting young mothers and their babies, and has the flexibility to be a transitional home for high-risk adolescent girls. Read more

Cradle 2 Kinder
MacKillop Family Services is proud to be playing an active part in providing the Cradle to Kinder Program to families living in Melbourne’s inner east and in the regional Victorian areas of Loddon and Ovens Murray. Read more

Hear from some of the young people the Cara program supports:

The Cara program can be contacted on (03) 9544 2544.


  • The Cara program(03) 9544 2544