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Extended Families

Who is Extended Families?

Extended Families Australia is a not-for-profit incorporated organisation that facilitates positive connections between children and young people with disabilities, their families and the community.

We recognise the challenges that a family can face raising a child with a disability & understand the support needed to help young person with a disability connect with their community.  Through our flexible support options, our volunteers provide children/young people with a disability and their families, companionship, friendship and practical assistance in their day-to-day lives. 

Our aim is to break down barriers, change social attitudes and through the simple gift of friendship create positive opportunities for both the individuals/families we support and our volunteers.

Our History

In the 1970's a need for additional support and care for disabled children living in institutions was identified.  In 1975, the Director of the Southern Family Life Service Association, Margaret McGregor, went on a study tour of volunteer programs in America. Inspired, she returned home and set up a program that matched mature-aged volunteers with children with disabilities who, for a variety of reasons, did not have a constant special person in their lives. 

With much needed funding from the Sidney Myer Charitable Trust, the Myer Foundation and Yooralla, Margaret McGregor launched the pilot program of The Foster Grandparents Scheme.  The scheme was founded in Melbourne under the auspices of the Victorian Council Of The Aged (VCOTA) in 1975.  Twenty-two volunteers were selected from 59 applicants to be the first Foster Grandparents in Australia, who then visited children at St. Nicholas’ Hospital and Yooralla.

Towards the end of the 1980s as community philosophy and government policy began to shift away from institutional care and focus on care in the community, the Foster Grandparents Scheme moved to supporting children living at home with their families or carer’s.  In 2003, the organisation was renamed Extended Families Australia to reflect the changing nature of the service and the needs of the families. Mature aged volunteers still provided valuable support but there was also a need for 'foster' aunties, uncles, brothers, sisters and mentors.  Since 2006, Extended Families has developed a range of complementary services. Children and families now have access to a number of flexible support options that suit their needs, family care structure and their goals.

You can read more about us in our 30 Yearbook PDF PDF

Our Vision

A society where children and young people with a disability experience full community inclusion and participation and their families are strong, resilient and connected.

Our Mission:

To support children and young people with a disability to feel valued, develop their full potential and participate fully in our society by building skills and strengths and facilitating positive connections for the children and their families with supportive volunteers and their community.

Our Values

  • Professional and ethical
  • Respect and compassion
  • Empowering people and communities
  • Communication, we practice open and honest communication
  • Continuous improvement and learning

Conflicts of Interest

Extended Families is committed to avoiding any real or potential conflict of interest in relation to the services provided to participants and actively supports the rights of participants to choose the supports they require.

Our Country

We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first Australians.   We acknowledge our work takes place on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. We respectfully recognise Elders both past and present.

Quality Statement

Quality at Extended Families involves both compliance with the standards that govern us as well as ensuring that we provide a service to the children and young people, and their families that is safe, accessible and continuously improving. Extended Families is compliant with the Department of Human Services Standards, the National Disability Standards and the Common Community Care Standards as well as meeting in principle the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement. In May 2015, following an external audit by HDAA, Extended Families was re-registered as a disability service as legislated in the Disability Act 2006.

Our Committee of Management

Extended Families Australia is an Incorporated Association, with a voluntary Committee of Management that provides governance and manages the business and operations of the organisation.

NDIS Provider

We are an NDIS accredited provider. Our provider number is 4050003060


Living with a disability can be difficult. We support people aged 0-30 and their families in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula to build friendships and connect with their community.

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Contact Us

Suite 1, 95 Bell Street
P.O.Box 275
Coburg Victoria 3058