At Dunlea Centre families in crisis receive special attention so that they can remain intact and deal with difficult issues.

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Many families get help through Dunlea Centre's intensive residential program that lasts for 6-12 months. Students return home on weekends to practice the things they have learned. The main carers attend counselling sessions every two weeks and each family establishes a set of goals they wish to achieve.

As an agency Dunlea Centre incorporates therapy, education and family support with an end goal of Family Preservation and Restoration wherever possible.

The Salesian “Preventive System” lies at the heart of Dunlea Centre, influencing, animating and directing all interactions with the boys and girls.

Boys’ Town school is also registered as a Year 7-10 school and so children whose experience of mainstream schooling has been unsatisfactory get a chance to learn in a supportive atmosphere.

The Salesian model of Behaviour Management Intervention is inspired by the work of Don Bosco with Italian street kids and was given a local focus by Fr Tom Dunlea with Australian children.

It is built upon a platform of eight planks – presence, preventive, plan, professional, positive, personal, parental involvement and play. It is based on a fundamental belief and hope in the ability of all young people to change.

One aspect of each student’s plan is the transition back to the societal mainstream.

Included too is the provision of opportunities for individual teachers and school staff to improve behavioural management practice through professional development experiences developed by Dunlea Centre.

In addition to its core Family Preservation and Restoration residential program for troubled young people, Dunlea Centre is currently working on a number of other projects to respond to the needs of young people. Currently around 200,000 Australian teenagers are not in education or work. There is an urgent need to support these young people, many of whom are in crisis.

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