Our History

The Seasons for Growth Children and Young Peoples program was launched in 1996, in recognition of the need to provide high-quality and evidence-based Australian support to children and young people experiencing uncertainty, change, loss and grief.

What is the MacKillop Seasons story?

In 1996, with the support of the Sisters of St Joseph, Professor Anne Graham AO researched and developed the first edition of the Seasons for Growth Children and Young People’s program. Soon after, the organisation, Good Grief was established to train professionals to deliver the change, loss and grief education program in communities across Australia. During this time, partnerships were developed with international organisations to deliver the programs in Scotland, England, Wales, New Zealand and Ireland.

In 2017, Good Grief transitioned into MacKillop Family Services, a national community service organisation. Still a part of MacKillop Family Services today, the Seasons for Growth programs and services are now delivered under MacKillop Seasons.

How have our services evolved?

Over the past few years, the need for loss, change and grief education and has increased exponentially. With an increase in natural disasters impacting communities, and the effects of COVID-19 still present, the MacKillop Seasons team have adapted to provide services and support directly on the ground, including our Seasons for Life initiative to support high schools to provide grief education following suicide or other loss event; professional development for schools; and Community Resilience Officers providing disaster response support.

What is the history of our programs?

The Seasons for Growth Children and Young People's program, currently in its third edition, continues to be informed by research evidence and formal evaluations. The program has been developed and adapted to help children and young people following all experiences of change and loss including family separation, death, suicide loss, forced migration, home-based care and pandemics. Over the years, the program has been further expanded to include the following suite of programs:

The Stormbirds program was developed in 2009 from the foundations of the Seasons for Growth program to support children and young people to adapt to experiences of change and loss following natural disasters, and was updated in 2020. Stormbirds has supported over 10,000 children and young people in Australia and New Zealand following bushfires, floods, storms, cyclones, monsoons and earthquakes.

In 2013, the Seasons for Growth Parent program was developed to complement the Children and Young People’s program. It provides parents and carers with an opportunity to better understand the experiences of death, separation and divorce from a child’s perspective and to explore strategies as they support their children to transition through change.

The Seasons for Growth Adult program was developed in 1999 to address the needs of adults to understand and respond to significant change, loss and grief events in their lives. While the adult program reflects the same underlying theory as the children and young people’s program, it incorporates adult learning principles and a wider range of life experiences. Now in its third edition, it has supported adults in community agencies and correctional facilities since its inception.

Seasons for Healing was developed in 2012 in partnership with Aboriginal Family Support Services, South Australia, with funding provided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation. The program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, responding to requests from Aboriginal communities for respectful, collaborative support in responding to the impact of intergenerational loss and grief.

Stories and Outcomes