The Churinga Special Residential School, located in Greensborough, was established by the St John of God Brothers in 1967. It housed 60 Catholic and Protestant boys (aged 7 to 16) with a developmental disability, and, in later years, some girls. From 1987, Churinga was registered as a Special School and ran a day-program. Churinga closed in 1990.
Churinga was purpose designed and built to provide a range of residential care, training and treatment programs for boys with severe or profound intellectual disabilities. According to the guide, A piece of the story Churinga provided residential care to boys (aged 7 to 16) with a developmental disability.
There was capacity to accommodate 60 residents. Catholic and Protestant boys were accepted. A focus on the boy's family was a key aspect of the program. Some girls were admitted as residents in the latter years of the service. A small day-centre program was also conducted until 1987 when Churinga became a registered Special School.
According to an article on the Broken Rites website, there were initially five Brothers working at Churinga.
The same article also makes the point that:
Many SJOG inmates, especially wards of state, had behavioural or learning difficulties and were not necessarily born with an intellectual disability, although they certainly became educationally disadvantaged through their incarceration at St John of God.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'A Piece of the Story': National Directory of Records of Catholic organisations caring for children separated from their families, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission & Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, November 1999, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf; Brother Matthew O'Donnell [Image], Date: c. 1968; Catholic religious Brothers abused the disabled, Broken Rites; James Jenkinson Consulting, Guide to out-of-home care services 1940-2000 - Volume One: Agency Descriptions, Department of Human Services, Unpublished, November 2001, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/DHS.3004.011.0367.pdf.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 11 November 2010, Last modified: 16 January 2019