Australian History –  Rainbows for the Children of Australia

Rainbows for the Children of Australia (Rainbows) is a not for profit organisation endorsed for charity tax concessions that began in 1985 in Australia, having adopted the international program originally developed in the U.S. When Rainbows first began, its main goal was to provide a safe place for children to express their feelings in relation to grief and loss – loss of a parent through death, separation or divorce, death of a sibling or grandparent, or any other major crisis or loss in their lives.

During the past decade, Rainbows has evolved into a vibrant charity which serves as an advocate for youth who are at risk of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, self-harm, suicide, or substance abuse, due to a life altering crisis. Research shows that when children in crisis are not heard or protected, they are more vulnerable to harmful behaviour and substances in their teen years. There is a direct link to failed marriage and a deterioration of well being in children including sexual abuse, family violence and a dramatic rise in self-harm for 12 -14 year olds (See the 2011 report For Kids Sake by Professor Parkinson.)

Rainbows programs are also listed in the Australian Psychological Society’s Kids Matter and Mind Matters’ initiative, which concentrates on promoting early childhood mental health. In Australia, Rainbows now primarily promotes the prevention or control of behaviour that is harmful to children who are in crisis, dealing with grief and loss issues. The first Constitution for Rainbows and a Board of Directors was established in 1996 to ensure that the organisation remains legally and financially viable and is delivering programs that meet the organisation’s principal objectives. At that time, a committee was also formed to revise all existing US materials, to produce a truly Australian edition of journals and resources which are distributed through an Australian publisher. A separate Management Team and Training Team have also been formed, and there are now over 25 Registered Trainers who provide training and resources to all Rainbows registered schools and agencies throughout Australia.

A Site Policy and Guideline Handbook is available to all schools and agencies.