Every day the team at the KIDS Foundation devotes time and resources to helping injury and trauma survivors rebuild their lives, as well as educating and empowering children and their families on ways to prevent the emotional and physical injuries and trauma associated with events that put children in dangerous situations."
Dr Susie O'Neill OAM - KIDS Foundation, CEO & Founder
Our philosophy, since 1993 focuses on keeping children safe and creating a better life for those living with serious injury and burns trauma. Dr Susie O’Neill OAM, CEO and Founder of the KIDS Foundation, began her career as a preschool and primary school teacher, where she specialised in working with children at risk. It was during that time that she met a young boy who was recovering from injury in a ward with three men in their 90's. At that time in Australia, there were no rehabilitation centres for children.
Troubled by this boy’s situation, Susie decided to do something about it and in 1993 established the KIDS Foundation – which is an acronym for Kids In Dangerous Situations. KIDS is an organisation dedicated to injury prevention and injury recovery for children.
In 2000, the KIDS Foundation opened its first children’s rehabilitation unit – “Pete’s Place” – at the Queen Elizabeth Centre in Ballarat. Later, a second refurbished unit for young people was established at the Caulfield General Medical Centre. The first child to stay in Pete’s Place was a burn survivor, and when it was time for him to return home, a national support network to assist in his recovery outside the comfort zone of the hospital could not be found. It was then that the KIDS Foundation established the Burn Survivors’ Network.
Research has revealed that more than 5000, Australian children are injured in accidents every day, and of those injured, more than 100 require hospitalisation. Preventable accidents also remain the single largest cause of childhood death in Australia. The work of the KIDS Foundation today aims to reduce the number of children being injured. Educating children, giving them the tools they need to better understand risk so that they can manage their own safety is KIDS focus. The KIDS mascot, SeeMore Safety, along with a compilation of child-friendly safety books, takes children on a journey that encourages lifelong safety conceptualisation. KIDS also supports children and young people as they recover from life-changing injuries and trauma to build a stronger life.