The program developed from the concern of an experienced health professional and journalist, Kate Strohm, who grew up in a family with a sister with cerebral palsy.
From her own experiences, and then through talking with other siblings and service providers, Kate understood the need to develop supports for siblings of children with special needs as they move through to adulthood. In 1999 she established the Sibling Project within the Department of Psychological Medicine, at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.
In 2003 a national incorporated body developed from this project and since then Kate has been the Executive Director of Siblings Australia Inc. Her book, Siblings: Brothers and Sisters of Children with Special Needs, has been published in Australia, the US (as Being the Other One) and the UK, and has been translated into Korean. A second edition of Siblings is due out in early 2013.
The organisation Mission Statement says it all. Siblings: Acknowledged, Connected, Resilient.
What we do
Siblings Australia aims to create connections between siblings, between parents and siblings, and between families and professionals. Our focus is on strengthening families. Consequently, we aim to increase the availability of information and support services for siblings of people with chronic conditions, through increasing awareness, understanding, skills and capabilities at two levels:
direct support to siblings
working with parents and service providers who, in turn, are able to better support siblings
We also play an important role in areas of research and advocacy to inform social policy makers about the needs of siblings. In 2004 and 2009 Siblings Australia hosted a conference for families, professionals and researchers - it attracted delegates from around Australia and overseas.