History & Journey

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CAAPS is a community based substance misuse service that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who are experiencing alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues. CAAPS was formed in 1984 as a joint initiative of the Uniting, Catholic and Anglican churches. Before moving to the present site on Boulter Road Berrimah in 1995, the service operated out of the Gordon Symonds Hostel in Winnellie and then for a brief period at Knuckey’s Lagoon. Primary sources of funding are through the Commonwealth Government, the Northern Territory Government, with the addition of some corporate sponsorship.

Meaning of the CAAPS Logo

CAAPS gratefully acknowledges William Parmbuck’s contribution to the CAAPS Logo design.

The people in the centre represent the Clients and Families who CAAPS help.

The people around the outside of the circle are from all the communities that are serviced by CAAPS and are Members of CAAPS.

The two Boomerangs represent keeping together and staying strong.

The gaps at the top and bottom show that CAAPS is always open to Families and also represents their coming in and going out.

1984 CAAPS was founded as a cooperative venture, by the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Church diocese.

1987 The initial treatment program started at Gordon Symons Hostels and was the provision of Dependent and Co-Dependent programs aimed to help families manage their lives when faced with the burden of dealing with alcohol dependence and petrol sniffing, in a family environment.

1991 CAAPS association with the Knuckey’s Lagoon Community and the Aboriginal Development foundation began. The development of The Gordon Symons Centre – CAAPS Treatment & Training Centre and the incorporation of CAAPS as an Aboriginal Association.

1992 Community outreach services provided at Maningrida and Darwin. Mapping of town camps and drinking camps and the development of strong relationships with clients.

1994 A 99 year lease of land was granted to CAAPS by the NT Government.

1997 The unique purpose built facility was officially opened on the 15th of August, continuing today to provide a comprehensive parenting and family wellbeing program for Aboriginal families from across the Northern Territory.

2000 New training center/ office complex opened and additional family accommodation was built.

2004 Dolly Garinyi Hostel was officially opened by Ms. Marion Scrymgour MLA Minister for Family and Community Services, on the 12th of May.

2006 The Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) Program was officially opened. The residential diversionary program run over eight weeks to support youth with skills to divert away from substance use, in particular the harmful affects of volatile substances.

2007 The Youth Wellbeing Program officially opened to provide community visits, delivering training about petrol sniffing and supporting community run diversionary programs.

2010 The organisation secured funding to engage a Registered Nurse with AOD expertise to identify medical and health risks for all clients accessing CAAPS Services.

2011 CAAPS secured funding under ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative to engage a Clinical Supervisor who would provide ongoing clinical supervision support and mentoring for CAAPS Aboriginal AOD Counsellors.

2014 CAAPS registered with the Office of the Registrar for Indigenous Corporations after a unanimous endorsement by the CAAPS Members at a Special General meeting.

2015 CAAPS became a QIC Accredited organisation. All 18 Health and Community Service Standards for accreditation were met with the Quality Improvement Council.

2016 Deadly Clever – CAAPS was selected for a 3 year partnership with VIVA Energy.

2017 The launch of the Strong Steps pilot program as a joint initiative between CAAPS and Amity Community Services Inc, funded by the NT PHN.