Kalparrin was formed as an extension of the early work of clinical psychologist, Margaret Cole, who, in the 1980s, was one of the first professionals to recognise the needs of families caring for children with special needs.
One of Margaret’s early initiatives was to arrange respite weekends for mothers who, at the time, had little or no support in their caring role. The camps resulted in the formation in 1987 of a steering committee which became Parents of Children with Disabilities. The Kalparrin Centre first opened in 1992 at Godfrey House on the grounds of Princess Margaret Hospital, as a place where families could enjoy time out, support and shared experiences with other families of children with special needs. It was officially opened by its Patron, Professor Fiona Stanley, on the 29th March, 1993.
The organisation was incorporated in 1989. Kalparrin was staffed by trained volunteers from 1992 until January 1995. A successful application for funding submitted to the Disability Services Commission and Princess Margaret and King Edward Hospitals enabled the Centre to fund two part time members of staff, a Coordinator and an Administration Assistant. Recurrent funding from these agencies was granted in late 1996.
In April 2006 Kalparrin moved into the purpose built space at the Rehabilitation Unit on Level 4, Hay St Building at Princess Margaret Hospital, just near the hydrotherapy pool. This location makes it more visible and accessible to parents and carers who visit the hospital.
The Centre receives the majority of its funding from Disability Services Commission and Telethon. Financial support is also obtained from sponsorships and donations from the public. The establishment of key partnerships with corporate organisations is central to Kalparrin’s future success.