Our story began in 1973, when a small group of community-minded parents came together to create a safe place where children could play after school. This small group grew and by March 1975 became registered as the Out of School Child Care Association (OSCCA) delivering out of school care across Perth. In these early days, OSCCA was the main out of school hours care (OSHC) provider, operating eight OSHC services and six vacation care programs.
In 1989 OSCCA was awarded a major tender to provide a Resource and Advisory Service to all Commonwealth funded child care services in Western Australia (WA) and changed its name to the Children’s Services Support Unit Incorporated (CSSU). This was a major achievement, which expanded our involvement with communities in Perth and across rural and remote WA. Further funding was granted in 1996 for the support and set-up of approximately 38 Indigenous crèches. During this time we supported 3,583 Indigenous Australians find employment.
In 2001 CSSU developed a model of management for delivering child care in the Pilbara. This came from an international research project commissioned by the Dampier Karratha Children’s Services (DKCS) to investigate “Alternative Management Models for the Community-Based Child Care Services in the Pilbara Region”. It drew upon years of research, social impact studies, steering groups, forums and planning initiatives that we had conducted for the purpose of addressing challenges associated with the delivery of child care services. Resultant of this study, we were approached by DKCS to take on the management responsibilities of four long day care services in the Pilbara. The success with our management model soon influenced other parent and council-operated child care services to transfer their services to CSSU.
Over the years we have developed cultural competence working with Indigenous Australians. We have success in supporting the Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services (MACS), delivering the Jobs Education and Training Child Care Resource Worker Program (JET/CCRW) for Indigenous Australians and providing culturally appropriate early education and care services for families in Indigenous communities.
Karri Hillier commenced as CEO in 2008 and began the journey of adapting and diversifying into other service areas and locations and encouraged innovation. The same year our Spirit, Code of Ethics and Philosophy Statement were created.
In 2010 we won our first community services project in the Northern Territory with the Wadeye Children and Family Centre. The same year our Registered Training Organisation (RTO) was launched. The RTO offered training, education and nationally recognised qualifications such as the Certificate III and Diploma in Childhood Education and Care. In 2013 the RTO began offering a school based training program for the Certificate lll in Karratha. The first in WA. This program has grown over the past four years and is now delivered with four high schools in WA.
In 2011, we began to work with individuals, families and children from vulnerable communities. The Wadeye Safe House was launched and by the following year in 2012, we were awarded the National Homeless Award for our innovative approach. That same year we moved outside the boundaries of Australia and developed a sponsorship program with the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage in Bali.
Today we are engaging with Indigenous corporations to assist them becoming autonomous.
Our organisation continued to diversify and underwent a number of transformations, not only in name but also in the services we offered. By 2013, we were offering National Quality Standards (NQS) products and services. The same year we launched our Family Information Support and Help (FISH). In 2014, we were awarded the contract to deliver parenting advice and support to the inmates at West Kimberley Regional Prison in Derby.
CSSU rebranded and blossomed into One Tree Community Services in 2015. We used the symbol of the tree to represent our organisation – branching out to assist the many diverse communities, whilst valuing the importance of their historical roots as well as our own.
In 2016 One Tree branched out into Victoria and now deliver a flagship Reggio Emilio inspired service that is a part of the University of Victoria’s professional development tours for early childhood teachers and diploma students.
In 2018 we designed a new, high quality and innovative approach to Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) called c-Verse. The c-Verse program provides OSHC services and educators with the tools and resources to create an environment for children to explore their interests in an imaginative, fun and child-oriented way. c-Verse builds on game concepts and creativity, giving children opportunities to enter into quests and explore different worlds.
In 2019 One Tree became the new contract provider for the Australian Defence Childcare Program. In January we began operating 19 early education and care services across six states and territories assisting and supporting defence families find suitable childcare. We also began helping Indigenous corporations become autonomous.
Our collective impact
We have always historically had strong relationships and partnerships with local communities, councils and businesses including the mining industry. In 2015 we entered into a formal partnership with Young Minds Family Mental Health Support Service to deliver mental health services to young people in the Kimberley (WA). The success of this partnership saw a partnership with Communicare and Wanslea Early Learning and Development to deliver the Inclusion Support Program across WA.
The past 45 years has been an evolutionary journey. We have grown and extended into new areas, delivering quality early education and care, community services, training and professional services. Notably, in the past 11 years we have grown from a small Western Australian based organisation to a large national provider.
We believe anything is achievable and there will always be a way to transform challenges into possibilities.