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GPO Box 158, Canberra ACT 2601

e t 133 427

Melaleuca Place (Trauma Recovery Centre)


In September 2012 the ACT Government committed $3.05 million over four years to establish the Trauma Recovery Centre (TRC) to support children recovering from abuse and neglect. The focus of the TRC is to provide high quality trauma-informed therapeutic services to children aged 0-12 who are current clients of the statutory services. Work will be undertaken with children in the context of their care and support networks utilising trauma and attachment informed interventions. The TRC will be situated within Early Intervention and Prevention Services in the Office for Children Youth and Family Support (OCYFS), in the Community Services Directorate (CSD).


The TRC will be called “Melaleuca Place”. A Melaleuca tree is part of the myrtle/eucalyptus family and the leaves are known for their natural healing and soothing properties. Melaleuca Place is located on the grounds of Dickson College (Crn of Anthill St and Phillip Ave, Dickson).


Dickson College

Melaleuca Place

Melaleuca Place (ACT Trauma Recovery Centre)


The team at Melaleuca Place is multidisciplinary comprised of clinical psychologists, social workers, an occupational therapist, speech pathologist and consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist. The staff are highly experienced professionals with expertise in trauma-informed therapeutic assessment and intervention.


Melaleuca Place will provide services to children aged 0 -12 years who are clients of Care and Protection Services or Youth Justice within the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support. All referrals must be presenting with (or are at risk of developing) severe and complex psychological and/or behavioural problems.


Melaleuca Place will:

  • Provide services aimed at facilitating healing, recovery and positive life outcomes for children and young people recovering from abuse and neglect

  • Provide evidence informed intensive therapeutic services for children and young people who are clients of the statutory services;

  • Lead a trauma informed, collaborative and flexible approach to service delivery; and

  • Enhance the capacity of the child’s support network and the wider service system to better meet their developmental needs.

The interventions provided will be relational and focus on both the individual child and their wider social and cultural environment. Key practise principles for Melaleuca Place are to:

  • Consider the views of the child/young person and their support system;

  • Encourage a partnership approach to supporting children affected by trauma. Support a child to heal from trauma, repair existing relationships and develop new healthy and supportive relationships is a shared responsibility and requires the long term support and commitment of all caring adults in a child’s life.

  • Focus on the wider social and cultural environment, as well as the individual therapeutic needs of the child to promote recovery.

  • See the child or young person will be at the most appropriate venue. For the child, this may include the child’s/carers home, school, and/or existing community service.

  • Work with a child in an unstable placement. Consideration of a child’s sense of psychological and physical safety is paramount and will inform any therapeutic intervention.

  • Work with Care and Protection Services to address any concerns in relation to a child’s safety and wellbeing.


The impact of child abuse and neglect on a child’s wellbeing is complex and requires a thorough understanding of child development, attachment and trauma theory.  The literature highlights that the physical, psychological, emotional and cognitive development of children is adversely affected if they have experienced repeated exposure to prolonged traumatic and stressful events.  This has a subsequent impact on their ability to form healthy, protective and supportive relationships. 

The range of interventions offered by Melaleuca Place practitioners will be based on the individual needs of the child and the family.  The theoretical frameworks that will guide treatment and intervention planning will include attachment theory, maltreatment and neglect and its impact on child development and neurobiology of trauma.  In addition, all interventions will be guided by an understanding of the systems theory and grief and loss theory.


Through the provision of high quality intensive therapeutic support Melaleuca Place will aim to:

  • Increase social connectedness;

  • Improve relationships between carers and children;

  • Increase stability of placements;

  • Improve cognitive and language development;

  • Improve school attendance and engagement;

  • Reduce frequency of problematic and/or concerning behaviour (can include sexualised behaviour);

  • Increase the capacity of a child to regulate their emotions and seek support from appropriate adults; and

  • Improve mood and motivation.

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