Past, Present, Future

Althea Projects Inc formally Wee Care Family Inc celebrated 40 years of caring for children in the Townsville community in June 2014.
The organisation was born out of a need to offer increasing numbers of children 24-hour accommodation when their parents or guardians were ill, involved in an emergency, or otherwise unable to care for them.

The Need For Care


In the early 70’s Joan Innes Reid sometimes referred to as the “mother” of Wee Care was a social worker at the TGH. When women were admitted to hospital and there was no-one to care for her children, the social workers would have the children admitted to the hospital. If there were a number of children or if it was to be an extended stay the children would be placed in the “temporary care” of the state and admitted to a state ran institution such as Carramar.



First Founded

On the 24th December 1971 Cyclone Althea hit Townsville highlighting the need for emergency accommodation for children as many families lost their homes.  Originally, families looked after other people’s children in their own homes when through illness, accident or other circumstances the parent or guardian was unable to care for them.

In 1973 twelve women formed the nucleus of the program which then cared for children in their homes until the child’s own family crisis had passed or other arrangements had been made. It became increasing difficult to cope with the number of children needing assistance living in their homes.

In March 1974 Wee Care was formally registered as an association. Dec 1974 cyclone Tracey came to Darwin and the families were evacuated to Adelaide and Townsville. Wee Care provided emergency places to Children once again.


Moving Into A Central Location

coolockcottagesquareAfter a year of operating they were unable to cope with the escalating demand and realised they needed a central location to offer emergency accommodation

And after considerable discussion with the community the Sisters of Mercy offered Coolock Cottage to the organisation and the Residential centre was officially opened on June 23rd 1974.



Moved To A New Location

Wee Care remained at the cottage until 1979, when the Sisters once again required the property.

Not wishing to see the organisation close, Mr Charles Arnold offered his house at 197 Kings Road, Pimlico for $1 a year rent.


Expanded To A New Home

There had been a considerable expansion of the services provided by Wee Care Residential and in April 1984 Townsville Apex Club began building the organisation a home of its own.

The project was finished in October 1984 and Wee Care Residential moved into their present home in Railway Estate and continued its expansion.



Change Of Identity

In 1984 Wee Care Family Emergency Service Incorporated formed as an Incorporation under the associations Incorporation Act 1981. And then in 1988 changed it’s name to become the widely known Wee Care Family Incorporated.



Growing In Numbers

In February 1992 the organisation became involved in the Foster Care Program as it already had considerable expertise in this area. The Shared Family Care Fostering program started with one (1) support worker at this time and was funded per Foster Carer Family. Shared Family Care was and still is funded by the Department of Communities – Child Safety Services. The program grew in the next year to include two (2) Support Workers and a Part-time Administration Officer. With an increase in funding in 2003 the program still supported the same number of Foster Carer Families but due to new reporting benchmarks the program included another two (2) Support Workers.


Continuing To Grow

The Department of Communities – Child Safety Service increased the Shared Family Care funding in 2007 which allowed for a Manager and Full-time Administration Officer. Shared Family Care during this growth was still operating from the one office at the Residential Premises in Railway Estate.


Changing Locations

In 2009 the SFC program received additional funding and as the program had outgrown the current office space, alternate office space was sought. The program relocated to 2 Fleming Street, Aitkenvale in April 2009 and included another two (2) Support Workers, a Team Leader and a Part-time Administration Officer to the team. Shared Family Care was funded to support 165 placements with Children who have Moderate to High Behaviours, the program supported approx 90 Foster and Kinship Carers at this time.



Expanding Further

2012 brought additional funding and a change to our Service Agreement with the Department of Communities Child Safety Services. Shared Family Care now supports 190 placements with Children who have Moderate to Complex Behaviours, and approximately 120 Foster and Kinship Carers. The Shared Family Care team now consists of a Manager, Team Leader, 8 Support Workers and 2 Administration Officers. To accommodate the extra staff the offices at 2 Fleming Street have extended to include another 3 offices upstairs.



Althea Projects

To honour how we first started 2014 saw us changing our name to  Althea Projects Incorporated.  In  2015 Althea Projects Corporate Office and the Shared Family Care Program Office moved to 296 Ross River Road, Aitkenvale, Townsville.   Wee Care Residential is still in the same Railway Estate Location.

RRR Building