The Organisation was formed in May 1932 as the Wollongong and District Society for Crippled Children. At the time there were limited facilities within the Illawarra for children with physical disabilities, and the Society was able to provide services that were not otherwise available to families.
The Organisation changed its Constitution and name to The Illawarra Society for Crippled Children in January 1964. In 1965 a house at 362 Crown Street was bequeathed to the Society following the death of Miss Martha Cram, and was used as a Children’s Hospital and a Memorial to the Cram family. The property was modified in 1971, jointly from funds raised as result of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and Commonwealth Government funds, and was opened as ‘The Illawarra Children’s Hospital (Cram House), caring for post-operative and orthopaedic patients.
In January 1972 an adjoining cottage was purchased by the Society and renovated by West Wollongong Rotary Club, and became a Special School for children with disabilities. The following year part of Cram House was used as a Day Care Centre. Both these services were later transferred to other community programs.
In 1974 Cram House closed, and in 1975 re-opened as a ‘Special Purpose Nursing Home’ and quickly filled to capacity to accommodate 26 children with severe disabilities.
In April 1984 extensions to Cram House were built on adjoining land leased from the Education Department in 1978 and later purchased by the Society. Funds for the extensions came from the community, mainly through a week-end telethon on WIN TV, and the Commonwealth Government.
In 1981 the Society established a community-based group home at Bellambi. It provided accommodation for four children with disabilities and was staffed with Houseparents.
In 1999 the Society changed its name to The Cram Foundation.
The Cram House building became unsuitable for meeting the residents’ individual needs, privacy, and in accessing and participating in community activities. During 2002 and 2003 residents moved from Cram House to five ‘Group Homes’ in the Shellharbour area. Cram House was subsequently sold in December 2006 and the administration staff moved to the Shellharbour City Centre.
In 2010 Cram received two more group homes, both in Albion Park. In 2011 Cram achieved external certification under the Attendant Care Industry Management standards (ACIMSS) 2008.
In-home care for people living in their own homes commenced in 2013 and later that year Cram began providing services to a number of Cram clients for their Community Participation program. Cram also took on a client funded under the government’s Leaving Care program.
In 2014 Cram won the Illawarra Business Award for Excellence in Customer Service
In 2017, Cram transitioned under the National Disability Insurance Scheme and certification and began providing additional services of Community Participation and Support Coordination.
In 2018, cram began providing support in dedicated Specialist Disability Accommodation which provides tailor made, purpose built accommodation for people requiring complex support.
In 2019/20, Cram collaborated with a range of building partners to open a series of new specialised disability accommodation sites ranging from 2 bedroom apartments, a modern luxury 3 bedroom home, and modern 3 bedroom villas and a new 4 bedroom home.
In 2020, Cram was nominated for a Leadership Award under the NSW/ACT Regional Community Awards and gained updated accreditation in the Australian Community Industry Standards 2018 (ACIS) is the national quality management standard that specifically addresses the provision of community services. Achieving certification to ACIS is a rigorous undertaking that requires service providers to achieve demonstrable quality outcomes for service users.