In 2004, Bryce Gaudry, the Member for Newcastle, addressed the NSW Legislative Assembly about the work of St John of God in the Hunter:
'For more than 40 years St John of God conducted a residential centre for children at Kendall Grange near Morisset. It had a client group per year of 30 children with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties. Parents were expected to participate in a behaviour management education program, and they and the children were provided with counselling services where necessary.
In 1999 the Department of Community Services area manager approached St John of God with a request that it change from a residential facility catering for children from a number of different Department of Community Services areas to a community-based early intervention service for the Hunter. A number of proposals were developed. The final preference of the area manager was for a non-residential early intervention behaviour management support program. The target group was to be families with children between the ages of 3 and 11 years with behavioural problems.'
According to Gaudry, the new early intervention service, St John of God Family Services, started in September 2000 and was officially launched in January 2001. His speech was to urge the Minister for Community Services to keep funding St John of God Family Services, but it appears funding was reduced. The Brothers later withdrew from providing children's services to focus on healthcare.
Some time around 2005 the Morisset site was sold, and by 2008 was in the process of being redeveloped. All the Kendall Grange buildings have been demolished.
A number of members of The Brothers of St John of God have been implicated in abuse cases involving children in their care in Australia and New Zealand, including at Kendall Grange.
On 9 November 2012 the New South Wales Premier announced a special commission of inquiry into allegations of a cover-up of child sex abuse by priests in the Hunter region. On 10 November 2012 The Sydney Morning Herald stated that St John of God Brothers who had been named in a Victorian inquiry into child sexual abuse had also worked in New South Wales, and been involved in the abuse of disabled boys at Kendall Grange. Some brothers had also been convicted of serious sexual assaults in New Zealand.
Later that week The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a psychologist who conducted investigations into child sexual assault in the St John of God Brothers had discovered many of its members are paedophiles. The sister of an alleged abuse victim also told her brother's story to the newspaper.
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04 June 2020
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00123
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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