The Oration, titled Healing to Thrive: Building the Collective Strengths of Our Families for Positive Generational Change was delivered by Ms June Oscar AO, CEO of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre.
June Oscar is Chief Executive Officer of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing. She is a Bunuba language speaker and is considered one of the most outstanding Aboriginal leaders in the Fitzroy Valley, and across Australia. She is a strong advocate and activist for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Her courage and determination to address the most complex and sensitive issues affecting the lives of Aboriginal Australians is inspirational. She does this with little regard for the immense personal toll that such actions necessitate. Her focus on Aboriginal children, and her determination that we do not sacrifice the health of children for the so-called ‘right’ to buy full strength takeaway alcohol, makes her a role model for all Australia.
In 2011, in an article appearing in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald (Weekend Magazines), June was named as one of the 50 most influential women in the world for her work in improving the lives of those living in remote Aboriginal communities. June has previously held the positions of Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council and the first woman to chair the Marra Worra Worra Resource Agency (Fitzroy Crossing). She is a Director on the Boards of Bunuba Films Pty Ltd and Bunuba Pty Ltd. She is the former chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service. In 1990 June was an appointment of the Federal Government to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Notre Dame, Broome, Western Australia, and is currently writing her PhD. June is a co-founder of the Yiramalay Wesley Studio School and is a Community member of the Fitzroy Valley Futures Governing Committee. In 2012 June was appointed as an Ambassador for Children and Young People by the Western Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Michelle Scott. June is a Chief Investigator on the Lililwan Project. In June of 2013, June was awarded an Order of Australia. June was the winner of the Westpac and Financial Review 100 Women of Influence in 2013 for Social Enterprise and Not for Profit Category. In 2013 June was awarded the Menzies School of Health Research Medallion for her work with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. In 2015 June was asked to be an Ambassador for the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
In 2007 community enforced alcohol restrictions came into effect, prohibiting the sale of mid and full strength take away alcohol in Fitzroy Crossing. It was an important circuit breaker, reigniting a long fought journey of societal recovery in confronting the effects of intergenerational trauma.
June Oscar AO speaks to this courageous story by explaining the foundational importance of healing. With the restrictions enforced it was clear, a young generation are growing with the physiological and neurological imprints of trauma. The evidence was established, 1 in 5 children have Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and countless others experience early life trauma. June explores the transformative process of healing across working and societal relationships to help us all comprehend, live through, and ultimately overcome the many ramifications of transmitted trauma. It is a process which is infusing and informing the women’s holistic reconstruction agenda and reminding us all why community driven and informed early life interventions are so essential. Their story speaks to how the work of community members and families simultaneously respond to and shape major policy goals set within the rubric of National Frameworks, including Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020, and the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.
Together the women are constructing a healing model at the forefront of 21st century learning and evidence which places children and families at its centre. This is informing national policy frameworks and always challenging them to go further. It is a model with a profound respect for the integration of both Indigenous and Westen epistemologies that moves services away from isolated delivery, toward wrap around health and educational supports for all.
This way of working provides an innovative approach to exploring one of the conferences major themes – Building safe organisations and environments for children.
As this model is constructed and positive changes made, June and the women see in the lives of children and families today, a vibrant and healthy future.
Shannon Fentiman is Queensland’s Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, and Minister for Child Safety.
Shannon is committed to social justice and throughout her career has worked to improve the lives of working people. She has also worked in a voluntary capacity for community groups that support women and families in need.
A critical priority for Shannon is tackling domestic and family violence and violence against women more broadly, and she plays a key role in the Palaszczuk Government’s urgent efforts to end violence.
Keynote addresses were delivered by Professor Kerry Arabena, Director, Indigenous Health Equity Unit, The University of Melbourne; Professor Ross Homel AO, Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University; an expert Panel on supporting young people in out-of-home care to flourish in adulthood, including Children’s Commissioners and young experts; and a National Framework symposium panel representing the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing, Commonwealth , States and Territories.
The Australian Model of the First 1000 Days: Making the World of Difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
Professor Kerry Arabena is Chair for Indigenous Health and Director of the Indigenous Health Equity Unit at the University of Melbourne. A descendent of the Meriam people from the Torres Strait, she has a Doctorate in Human Ecology and a degree in Social Work. She is the Lead Investigator on the Australian Model of the First 1000 Days Study, an interventions based pre birth cohort study designed with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
With an extensive background in public health, administration, community development and research, her work has made significant contributions in areas such as sexual and reproductive health, family violence, gender issues, access and equity, service provision, and harm minimisation. Her professional experience has seen her recognised as an Australian of the Year Finalist in 2010 and recipient of the prestigious JG Crawford Proze for Academic Excellence at Australian National University in 2011. She is a Board Director, author and business owner; a mother and a grandmother with interests in achieving equity for all Australians.
The Australian Model of the First 1000 Days is an Indigenous-led initiative for vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and infants, starting at (pre)conception until the infant is aged two.
Through regional integration and implementation, the model aims to support services to assist parents achieve optimum health and wellbeing outcomes for their children.
Informed through a year-long and continuing, nation-wide engagement process engaging research institutions, policy-makers, professional associations and human rights activists with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service delivery organisations, peak bodies and families, the Australian Model of the First 1000 Days broadened beyond the international emphasis of improving nutrition and maternal and child health to include an Indigenous-led holistic and ecological framework.
The Model will be implemented through local governance arrangements between the University of Melbourne, early learning centres, and Aboriginal community health and other organisations with government agencies. This presentation will describe the impacts of when systems work well, and when they fail to adequately address the social, economic and cultural contexts in which people live. Also covered will be the ability of the Model to inform strategy, decision making, programming and implementation of policy by working with families together to value and protect their children.
Ross Homel is Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He has served as Director of the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, was founder and director of the Griffith Institute for Social and Behavioural Research (now the Griffith Social and Behavioural Research College); has served as Head of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice as a Commissioner of the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission; and in the early 2000’s worked with Fiona Stanley and others to establish the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth and its associated ARC research network. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and former member of the Academy executive committee.
Professor Homel has published three monographs and six edited books, as well as more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and numerous high impact government reports. He has won many awards for his research on the prevention of crime, violence and injuries and the promotion of positive development and wellbeing for children and young people in socially disadvantaged communities. His accomplishments were recognised in January 2008 when he was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) “for service to education, particularly in the field of criminology, through research into the causes of crime, early intervention and prevention methods”. In May 2008 he was recognised by the Premier of Queensland as a ‘Queensland Great’, “for his contribution to Queensland’s reputation for research excellence, the development of social policy and justice reform and helping Queensland’s disadvantaged communities”. In December 2008 he was shortlisted for 2009 Australian of the Year, in 2009 he received a Distinguished Service Award for Alumni, Macquarie University; and in 2010 he received the Sellin-Glueck Award from the American Society of Criminology for criminological scholarship that considers problems of crime and justice as they manifest outside the United States.
Children and young people living in economically deprived areas, especially Indigenous children, are more likely than those from more affluent communities to drop out of school, become trapped in inter-generational cycles of poverty and welfare dependence, or get caught up in the child protection or youth justice systems. Despite the best efforts of governments and caring organisations, the gap is not narrowing.
The promise of the collective impact movement is to unite our fragmented services to achieve common goals, but the movement needs to make greater use of rigorous science to realise this promise. Prevention science is built on carefully designed and closely evaluated evidence-based programs, few of which have been implemented by the social and education sectors on a large scale.
The challenge now facing Australia is to build prevention science methods and insights into large scale, sustainable, economically efficient, early prevention delivery systems. This will achieve measurable, ongoing improvements in wellbeing across the life course.
This presentation summarises the methods and achievements of Creating Pathways to Prevention, a program of research and action that addresses this challenge, bringing together the prevention science and collective impact movements. The emphasis is on the prevention of problems before they emerge or become entrenched, consistent with the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, which emphasises early intervention and prevention.
The way adults conceptualise children and young people has a significant impact on the policies, procedures and legislation adults create to support (and sometimes control) children and young people. It also determines the nature and quality of adult interactions with children and young people.
Despite gains over the last few years, most adults continue to see children and young people as incapable of, or unqualified to, making decisions about their own lives.
Young people will join Children’s Commissioners to explore this inherent power imbalance and the impact it has on the lives of children and young people, including those in care. Discussion will focus on how listening to and respecting the words and idea of children and young people helps to foster a sense of individual ‘agency’ and being in control of your own life, an important aspect of flourishing in adulthood. Agency, and the capacity to influence events, are not only a basic right, but are important for children and young people’s safety, wellbeing and resilience.
By challenging adults to consider their conceptualisation of children and young people, this session aims to promote children and young people’s decision making ability and identify more collaborative ways of working which recognise children and young people’s capabilities.
Ms Cheryl Vardon joined the QFCC on Monday 12 October 2015 as our Principal Commissioner. Cheryl has had a distinguished career as an educator and is recognised for her leadership in the protection of vulnerable children and young people and for indigenous education. She is an experienced leader of policy implementation and system reform.
Mark has worked for much of his career in the area of children and young people’s services and policy development. He is a committed advocate for young people’s rights. As Commissioner for Children, Mark focuses on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them.
Matthew Bambrick is a 20 year old from South East Queensland who by his own admission believes to be mature beyond those years. Matthew has extensive lived experience with the Child Protection System and will confess that he has been through a number of ups and downs during that time. Matthew has recently been supported by both Next Step After Care and the CREATE Foundation Queensland. With this support Matthew has proved to be a talented speaker and recently hosted the Next Step After Care one year celebration. In his own words “my hope is not to be changed but to be the change.”
Adina is 19 years old and lives in Toowoomba and is currently a 2nd year Law student at USQ. At the age of 11 Adina was placed in OOHC and lived with the same foster parents. Adina’s passion is to use her care experience to help improve the system for other children and young people, to ensure that they have a healthy and happy transition to adulthood.
Brooke is 20 years old and a passionate advocate for young people in care throughout Tasmania. Brooke has been involved with the CREATE Foundation since the age of 12 and during this time has become an extremely valued Young Consultant, presenting at several forums, conferences and sector meetings at both State and National levels. Brooke is studying Certificate 3 in aged care, while helping to create positive change within the care system.
Andrew McCallum is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA), the NSW non-government peak for community organisations working with vulnerable children, young people and their families. He has worked in the community services sector for more than 35 years and is a recipient of the Member of the Order of Australia for his service to the community in a range of leadership roles across the social justice sector. Andrew is a past President of ACOSS, VCOSS and the Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia.
A social change proponent, diplomat and author, Dr Brian Babington has worked for over three decades for stronger communities, families and individuals in Australia and developing countries, particularly in Asia. Since 2005, he has been the CEO of Families Australia. He plays leadership roles in numerous national and international bodies, particularly as convenor of the National Coalition on Protecting Australia’s Children and as a director of a major international child-centred community development agency, Plan Australia.
The non-government and research sectors have joined together as the National Coalition for Protecting Australia’s Children to help devise and drive the implementation of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children. National Coalition Convenor and Families Australia CEO, Dr Brian Babington, will explore the state of play with the Third Action Plan (2015-18) under the National Framework as well as key challenges ahead in realising the National Framework’s vision that all Australian children are safe and well.
Dr Ros Baxter is Group Manager of Families Group in the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services. her group leads the Government’s work on the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children; manages significant programmes to support children, parents and families; takes the lead on birth, adoption and care policy; and manages federal income management and financial wellbeing interventions.
Ros has worked in social and welfare policy and practice in both Australia and the United Kingdom, and in local, state and federal government. She has been a presiding member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, and has also worked as a consultant, providing advice to public and private sector organisations in developing regulation and prosecuting strategic policy.
Ros has degrees in government, social work and law from the University of Queensland, and a PhD in law (welfare reform) from the University of Sydney.
The Commonwealth is collaborating with States and Territories and non-government representatives to implement the actions identified in the Third Action Plan. As well as leading work to help young people in out-of-home care thrive in adulthood, the Commonwealth is particularly focused on raising awareness of effective parenting practices in the first 1000 days for a child and on models to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities in the early years.
Dr Mark Collis is currently the Executive Director for the Office for Children Youth and Family Support in the ACT. In this role he over sees the Child Protection and Youth Justice systems and the early intervention programs for vulnerable children, young people and their families.
Mark was been a teacher, psychologist and administrator and has worked across Australia for families for over 30 years. Recently Mark has lead the reforms into the Out of home Care System in the ACT – Step Up For Our Kids – and the redesign and integration of the Care and Protection and Youth Justice support systems – Child and Youth Protection Service. Mark has participated in many national forums including the National Protecting Australia’s Children Forum and was the chair of the Australian Juvenile Justice Administrators’ Group for over two years.
The ACT is focused on implementing reforms that have a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention, and targeting assistance to those communities that have most contact with the child protection system, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. This is demonstrated through the implementation of significant reforms to the out of home care and child protection systems as part of A Step Up for Our Kids (Out of home Care Strategy 2015-2020).
Cathy commenced as Deputy Director-General in October 2014 and was previously the Acting Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs from November 2013 to September 2014. She has held senior roles in government since 2002, including General Manager, Youth Justice and Youth Development; Executive Director, Child Safety, Youth and Families Policy and Performance; and Regional Executive Director, Brisbane Region. Prior to joining government, Cathy practised child and family law and was the inaugural director of Women’s Legal Aid in Queensland.
Queensland’s child and family reforms align closely with the Third Action Plan. Priorities for the Queensland Government include investing in family support to better assist families to care for their children safely at home; improving the life opportunities and outcomes for vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families; and introducing new Next Step support services to assist young people to successfully transition to independence.
Maree Walk is the Deputy Secretary, Programs and Service Design in the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). With a focus on service design and delivery to help the most vulnerable, she is well known for collaborating across government and non- government sectors.
FACS is the biggest funder of non-government organisations (NGO) in NSW; funding around 800 NGOs, about $1 billion annually, under nearly 2,000 funding arrangements (excluding its Ageing, Disability and home Care Division). FACS manages contracting arrangements for about $5.5 billion of housing assets, around 20,000 properties, which are owned or managed by NGOs.
Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary, Maree was the last Chief Executive of Community Services from 2012 to 2014.
Maree Walk, Deputy Secretary, Programs and Service Design, NSW Department of Family and Community Services will present on the alignment between NSW’s work and the National Framework. Ms Walk will highlight NSW’s achievements to date, cross jurisdictional and service system cooperation. She will also cover issues of innovation shown in ambitions long-term projects on earlier intervention, child protection and out of home care.
Richard is a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait and has worked in Indigenous affairs for more than 20 years.
Richard has been CEO of the healing Foundation since 2010 and under his leadership the organisation is leading policy development and supporting knowledge creation to ensure governments and community organisations can access quality information about healing and its impact.
He Chairs the National health Leadership Forum and is a member of The Close the Gap Steering Committee, The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leaders in Mental health, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Advisory Group for headspace, a member the National Empowerment Project advisory committee and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project. He is also a Board member of Families Australia.
The National Framework is a ground breaking policy initiative that demonstrates how much our nation values the wellbeing of children, particularly those that may be living in circumstances which can cause vulnerability from time to time. It is a commitment by our government to our children. But why is it that when it comes to Indigenous children the indicators are that we are missing the mark? What can be done?
Papers were presented under the following themes:
Rosemaria Flaherty manages child protection services for the Northern NSW Local Health District, and is a PhD student with the Australian Centre for Child Protection. Rosemaria’s research examines the role of the unborn child high risk birth alert in connecting at-risk pregnant women to health and social care.
An increasing number of children in NSW are born subject to an unborn child high risk birth alert, or their mothers are the subject of pre-birth conferencing. However, very little is known about the experience of the practitioners supporting these women. Preliminary findings of a cross-sectorial staff survey are discussed.
Dr Rebecca Ritte is an epidemiological Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She has a Doctorate in Cancer Epidemiology and over four years of experience focusing on chronic disease outcomes and child mortality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Australian interpretation of the 1000 Days movement is being established to have effective supports for families of Indigenous children during critical periods of heightened risk. The model has a focus on the family environment meaning families will be the locus of nation building by raising flourishing Indigenous children.
Dr Nicole Milburn is a Clinical Psychologist and infant mental health specialist. She has been with the Berry Street Take Two Program since its inception in 2003 and is an expert in the impact of trauma and attachment disruption on infants. She presents nationally and internationally at infant mental health conferences.
All infants pass through of natural regression where they go backward before making a leap forward. At these times infants have decreased immunity and increased risk of harm, including death. The increased risk can be mitigated by a proactive approach of anticipatory guidance and support in partnership with parents.
Geraldine Atkinson is a proud Bangarang/Wiradjuri woman who is the Deputy Chairperson (Early Childhood) of SNAICC and President of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI). A recognised leader in Koorie education, Geraldine is also chairperson of Lulla’s Multi-functional Aboriginal Children’s Service and Batdja Aboriginal Preschool in Shepparton.
Major reforms in process for Australia’s early childhood education and care sector will see services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities transitioned to a mainstream funding model. This presentation addresses implications for the capacity of the sector to advance educational opportunity and wellbeing for future generations.
Marg D’arcy has been the Child and Family Services Manager at EACH for 8 years, focussing on services which build safety and capacity for children and families. Prior to that her career was built around policy and services’ responses to women and their children who had experienced violence for over 30 years.
This paper will present the learnings from Little Sunbeams, designed to address the developmental needs of children and strengthen parenting capacity for women and their children escaping family violence and in crisis or transitional housing. It is an example of collaboration across specialist family violence services and community health.
Dr Dave Vicary has extensive clinical, policy, executive management, research and evaluation experience across sectors including government, resource, health, education and youth welfare. Dave is the Executive Director, Operations at the Children’s Protection Society and is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology at Curtin University.
The CPS Early Years Centre for vulnerable children and families offers a unique, holistic, multidisciplinary program providing early-years education/care for children (0 to 5 years) and families living with complex needs. The Centre provides a safe place for families and their children and the program has delivered outstanding outcomes.
Mary McKinnon joined Life Without Barriers in 2013 after thirty years’ experience ranging across disability, child, youth and family services as a practitioner and manager. Mary previously held the position of Director of Statutory and Forensic Services Design along with many other senior positions within the Victorian Department of Human Services.
Reach is a two month pilot project, showcasing cross-sector collaboration, led by Life Without Barriers. The project is underpinned by activities focused on providing opportunities to young people to increase their educational aspirations and their capacity and confidence to participate in higher education and as a result flourish into adulthood.
Prof Rosemary Sheehan works in the Department of Social Work, Monash University. She has 17 years’ experience as a Dispute Resolution Convenor in the Victorian Children’s Court and is a recent Member of the Victorian Child Death Review Committee. She teaches mental health for social work programs, co-coordinating the Research Degrees and Forensic Studies programmes.
Children and young people from the child protection system are over-represented in the youth justice system. This Victorian study surveys children and young people, from 12 to 17 years, to identify what factors contribute to their vulnerability to entry to the youth justice system and what offers better intervention.
Dr Jacqui Beall is the Director of the Child Protection Service at Flinders Medical Centre, SA. She has primarily worked with high risk families across both Federal and State jurisdictions with a focus on assessment and early intervention. Her PhD studies focused on intergenerational transmission of maternal trauma.
This study aims to follow the journey of a cohort of infants from their mother’s first antenatal hospital presentation through their transition to a key community based health service, Child and Family Health Service, with a focus on the effectiveness of referral pathways, engagement with services, and improving service provision.
Christine Gibson has significant experience in conducting and managing research activities for a large child welfare agency. She has an extensive background working within various community legal centres and teaching socio-legal practice to Social Work students. Recent research includes development of child and family sensitive practice along with several evaluations.
An overview of a national research project that involves four universities, an institute and a child care agency. It aims to develop both an interdisciplinary educational framework to inform higher education curriculum and a common language for interdisciplinary professionals working with young children and their families.
Anthony Smith has worked with Aboriginal young people across disability, social housing and early intervention programs over the past 17 years. Anthony is a Project Manager at Jaanamili and currently manages the AASS program.
The Aboriginal Aftercare State-wide Service started in May 2015 is a new program run by Jaanimili dedicated to providing support to Aboriginal young people leaving care across NSW. This talk explains the program and the need for greater supports of Aboriginal children and young people in aftercare programs.
Vivienne Cunningham-Smith is General Manager of Playgroup Australia and has over 30 years’ experience in the early years and primary health sectors. Viv established one of the first integrated early years children’s family services in NSW and has extensive experience in child and family practice.
Parents matter and supporting their parenting in the first 1000 days is critical to achievements in the child and family, early years and educational sectors. The Parenting Research Centre and Playgroup Australia explore the evidence in relation to playgroup as a central platform of the first 1000 days.
Marian Pettit manages a network of over 60 local community organisations across Australia to deliver the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s flagship early learning and parenting – Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) in 100 communities.
HIPPY (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) is a two-year, home-based early learning and parenting program for families with young children. It empowers parents and carers to be their child’s first teacher, helping children to succeed at school. HIPPY operates in 100 vulnerable communities across Australia delivering to over 4,300 families per year.
Dr Yvonne Parry has led research projects working with nationally and internationally renowned researchers in the area of vulnerable children; early childhood development; and vulnerable families’ access to health. Yvonne has provided mixed methods research skills to a number of research projects from a social justice framework.
Programs that directly address depression, anxiety and attachment for mothers with perinatal depression improve depression and anxiety by 50%. The use of early detection, prevention and intervention programs for parents and children has the potential to improve life course outcomes for infants and children.
A/Prof Daryl Higgins is Deputy Director (Research) at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, where he has responsibility for the Institute’s research program and its knowledge translation and exchange functions. The Institute undertakes a wide range of research, evaluation and dissemination projects focusing on policy- and practice-relevant issues affecting families.
Australia is currently focusing on actions that organisations can take to keep children safe. We explore key issues and challenges relating to this issue for policy and practice – and strategies for identifying and addressing vulnerability of individual children, their families, the institutions serving them, and potential offenders.
Mary Kyrios is a social worker with 25 years’ experience in operational, policy, program development and implementation in the Victorian child protection system. Her current role at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare is to inform member organisations of legislative reform and child safe organisations.
This presentation will outline the background that led to new legislation in Victoria regarding the introduction of compulsory child safe standards. The presentation will discuss strategies being undertaken in Victoria to drive cultural change to strengthen organisations approaches to preventing, detecting and responding to child abuse.
Chris Stanilewicz is a senior policy officer in the Women Youth and Child Health Policy Unit in ACT Health, where she is responsible for providing policy analysis and building organisational capacity to meet the health and well-being needs of children and young people in the Canberra region.
ACT Health’s coordinating framework will create an authorising environment and mandate to build organisational capacity to be child safe, child friendly, and child aware. Drawing on a range of policy levers and evidence to highlight that care and responsibility for children is everyone’s responsibility and not just paediatric services.
Lisa Hillan is a social worker with over 20 years’ experience working with vulnerable communities. For over 15 years, Lisa has worked in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations supporting program development. Since 2010 Lisa has been Programs Director at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.
Much trauma has been experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a result of colonisation. Creating Healing Environments that are trauma informed is creating renewed social and emotional wellbeing.
Kym Macfarlane works in academia and child and family studies. Her research work spans the areas of soft entry, universal, early intervention and prevention and broadly, work with children 0-18 years and their families. Kym currently works across university and community services.
This paper focuses on research undertaken as part of The Salvation Army Griffith University Knowledge Partnership. The research centres on work at the Family Place – a drop in centre in Logan, Queensland, where researchers are working to build an evidence base for soft entry, universal, early intervention and prevention practice.
Imogen Wall has a background in social research, specialising in developing wellbeing and progress and measurement frameworks. She recently joined ARACY to develop and provide training in The Common Approach, an adaptable, holistic, strengths-based approach for practitioners working in partnership with children and families to improve children’s wellbeing.
The Common Approach is a flexible framework to help all professionals identify child and family needs and act early. ARACY and the SA government are piloting a systems-based approach for sustainable preventive practice across education settings. This paper will outline the Approach and the pilot experience.
Dr Jennifer Cartmel is a senior lecturer in the School of Human Services and Social Work. She has been involved in research projects focussing on workforce development in the children’s services sector. Her research interests include children’s wellbeing and many facets of outside school hours care services.
This paper reports about the evaluation of an initiative to nurture children’s wellbeing. WINGS: Early Years 0- 5 years. It is strengths based approach and encourages educators to look for, and helps to raise children’s awareness of their strengths and capabilities through awareness of the impact of interactions and communication.
Anthony Shannon is Director, Community and Reform, NSW Family and Community Services. He manages NGO disability and community services funding across Northern Sydney. Previously Anthony worked for ten years in the NGO youth sector, and holds a Masters of Social Policy, Graduate Diploma International Development, and Bachelor of Social Science/Youth Work.
The Ryde and Northern Beaches Project’s are place-based, community of schools and youth services approaches to early intervention, using population screening, flexible practice frameworks and youth-focused, family-centred case management, to address risk, promote well-being and resilience in young people. The projects demonstrate co-design, collective impact, and integrated service delivery.
Tess Bartlett is a PhD candidate at Monash University researching the experiences of primary carer fathers and their children at arrest, sentencing, and imprisonment. Tess has worked as a research assistant on a number of projects at Monash University and is currently the Managing Director of the Imprisonment Observatory.
This paper provides new insights into the experiences of primary carer fathers and their children at the point of arrest in Victoria. It examines the extent to which a father’s role as a primary carer is acknowledged and responded to by the police and how their children’s needs are met.
Jacqueline Reid has worked in disability/mental health in Australia and UK. In WA, Ms Reid was a Principal; Consultant (Inclusive Education); Manager, Disabilities; Consultant (Mental Health), in the UK, as Educational/Developmental Psychologist. In Jacqueline’s current role in Catholic Education, she leads Psychology/Disability teams in strategic/operational support.
The Student Engagement, Mental Health and Wellbeing in WA Catholic Schools Audit was conducted in response to formal and informal feedback from schools about the impact of students with mental health issues. The audit was considered an important way of receiving feedback from schools about current needs of students and the role of schools in supporting their mental health and well-being.
Cheryl Hillier is the Service Manager of Therapeutic Youth Services and has worked to increase the program’s capacity to prevent young people becoming homeless, through counselling and the Rubys reunification service. Cheryl has a Masters of Social Work and has worked with young people at risk of homelessness for 12 years.
TYS prevents youth homelessness for 75% of the families we work with. We challenge young people, their family and services not to take the ‘easier path’ of an independent income and homelessness accommodation for a young person, but rather we generate hope and support families to remain living together.
is the Principal Consultant with the Council for the Care of Children in South Australia and an advocate for the rights, interests and social inclusion of children and young people. She promotes their voices and works to make them more visible as valued and contributing citizens.
The UNCRC gives children and young people a right to express their views about matters that affect them and to have their views respected and taken into account. 1654 young South Australians aged 4-18 years participated in conversations about rights and a proposed Commissioner for Children and Young People.
Winnie Bridie is a policy officer at CYDA. CYDA is the national representative organisation for children and young people with disability aged 0-25 years. CYDA provides a link between the direct experiences of children and young people with disability and their families to federal government and other key stakeholders.
This presentation will explore how critical learnings from the direct experiences of children and young people with disability should inform the definition and practice of child safe organisations.
Lynn Farrell has been working with young children and families for over 30 years. She is currently the integrated services manager at The Infants Home and values the principles of children’s rights and social justice. Her work with children and families is founded on inclusive and strength based practices.
This workshop examines the role of working across disciplines and within an integrated model to engage and sustain families and build children’s capacity. Integrated ECEC as a platform for seamless entry and a protective factor for children will be discussed and its role within early intervention and prevention discovered.
Helen Hunt is Clinical Member of the Victorian Association of Family Therapists who works with children and young people in her role as a Child Consultant and Child Counsellor. She has been with FMC Mediation and Counselling for 6 years.
FMC Mediation and Counselling Victoria has developed Child Informed Mediation to ensure children have a voice in the mediation process. Child Counsellors work with children and their families to ensure the child is heard in a safe environment and workable parenting arrangements are in the best interest of the child.
Peta Nichol is Queensland Program Manager for Save the Children Australia. She has 25 years’ experience in program design, delivery and management. Qualifications in psychology and direct youth work and family support work experience enables Peta to oversee Save the Children Australia’s programs throughout Queensland, including in the remote areas of Doomadgee, Normanton and Mornington Island.
Children are routinely overlooked when it comes to emergency management planning. Save the Children Australia addresses this in two ways – firstly, we help communities plan for children’s needs and secondly, we provide safe play spaces and services for children impacted by natural disasters and emergencies.
Teegan Keane-Hogan has 30 years’ experience in Australia and Ireland as a Case Manager working with Children/ Families of DV, in Fostering and Family Support, and with Children in Care. Teena is currently a Child and Family Advocate with Multi-agency Investigation Support Team and holds a BA in Applied Social Science (Ireland).
Discussion of the Multiagency Investigation and Support Team (MIST) responding to child sexual abuse. The MIST team utilises a community based child and family friendly space, to co-locate their integrated service team. Environment, collaboration and a family systems approach are three key strengths of the model.
Anne Tidyman has a background in nursing, public housing, community development, out-of-home care and public advocacy. She has volunteered and worked in the community sector for the past 15 years with a special interest in working with vulnerable communities. Anne is Manager, Kids in Focus, at Odyssey House Victoria.
The children of substance-affected parents are not only exposed to problematic use of alcohol or other drugs; they are also more likely to experience family violence, as well as violence that is more severe, than other children. This presentation outlines a multifaceted approach to protecting children by helping their mothers.
Melinda Clarke has worked for Life Without Barriers for 10 years in operational management and practice and quality roles, and is now the National Manager Quality of Care. Melinda also worked for NSW government in child protection and disability. In Melinda’s current role, she is responsible for leading child-safe initiatives for.
Based on situational crime prevention, We Put Children First is Life Without Barriers’ approach to the prevention of child abuse. The key messages in We Put Children First are extended guardianship, acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in relation to children, and speaking up about child safety concerns.
Dr Katrina Stratton has had social work experience as practitioner, researcher, consultant and educator in the health, child protection, university and not-for-profit sectors. In particular, Katrina has extensive practice and research history with vulnerable children and families. Katrina is the Coordinator of Research and Evaluation at Wanslea.
Traditionally, child and family services have sought feedback from the parents with whom we work; but what about the voices and views of the children we work with? Wanslea undertook research to access children’s voices regarding their experience of service delivery in the Reunification Program. These findings are shared.
Joanna Moss has developed and implemented successful Youth Therapeutic & Education Programs in diverse community settings for over 20 years. An award winning teacher and welfare worker, Joanna is an innovator and works passionately to empower young people. Her experience includes case management, welfare coordination, youth worker and Asylum Seeker coordination.
The FMC ‘STAR Program’ aims for everyone to live in safe and respectful environments that enable children to thrive. “It takes a village to raise a child” approach, FMC has developed and implemented ‘STAR’ (Students Talking About Relationships). STAR is an all-inclusive, integrated and fully aligned program embedded in schools.
Sally Walker has worked in child, youth and family health and the welfare sector for 20 years across statutory and legal programs, to early intervention and health promotion. Her background is psychology with post graduate in adolescence and forensic behaviour.
Developing mental health literacy and emotional regulation skills in primary school aged families. Use of creative tools and mindfulness skills have been effective in strengthening children’s ability to self-identify emotional needs and self soothe in circumstances of distress.
Dr Rebecca Gray is an experienced research/practitioner who coordinates the research program at Relationships Australia NSW. Monitoring internal evaluations for program and workforce development, Rebecca is particularly interested in the clinical encounter and gathering client feedback on services with a focus on domestic and family violence and trauma.
An evaluation of a style of family dispute resolution, which emphasises the therapeutic alliance, indicated improved outcomes for parental conflict. In this presentation, we reflect upon the implications of our findings, as well as the complexity of managing domestic and family violence, and challenges associated with separated parents re-partnering.
Josette Gardiner is a specialist child and youth counsellor in the federal Supporting Children After Separation Program (SCASP). She works with families and children, helping them harness their strengths to create positive change and better relationships. Josette has a particular interest in the effects of trauma and the developing brain.
The strength and quality of relationships between parents is fundamental to the development of children’s brain architecture, function and capacity for resilience. Children’s brains are impacted by experience and the emotional environment in which they live. Consistent, positive parental alliance is critical for optimal child mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Megan Welsh is an executive manager at Centacare with direct experience in establishing residential and outreach programs for young people and families who are homeless and experiencing domestic violence. Megan has worked with staff in these programs to provide attachment, developmental and trauma-informed practice with a child focus.
This presentation details the attachment-based and trauma-informed intervention that aims to provide positive outcomes for young women and break intergenerational cycles of child protection service involvement in their lives. We will outline the ethos behind our service and highlight a particular case study to illustrate this approach in action.
Annette Michaux is responsible for leading a number of the PRC’s major research, development and implementation projects. She has 16 years’ senior executive experience in child and family services across the government and non-government sectors. Annette is PRC lead on the QAF implementation trial in NSW.
We present on the development in NSW of an outcome-focussed Quality Assurance Framework for children and young people in OOHC. Focusing on young people, the main findings of the project will be summarised. As an Australian ‘first’, this presentation informs those seeking to use system-wide initiatives to improve outcomes in OOHC.
Cathy Stirling works with the Centre for Research, Innovation and Advocacy at Uniting Communities. Cathy’s current research areas include educational outcomes of children in out-of-home care and the prevention of child abuse and neglect. She has over 15 years of experience as a researcher.
This presentation will discuss the factors that hinder and support a young person’s positive trajectory in education. An evaluation at Uniting and a review of the literature identified 36 actions that can be used by caseworkers and teachers to help keep young people engaged in their education.
Lucas Moore is the Queensland coordinator for CREATE. Lucas has worked with children and young people in out of home care for the last seven years and believes that children and young people’s opinions provide a crucial contribution to the design and delivery of any service.
The presentation provides an overview of the NEXTSTEP service model, and how CREATE, in partnership with Life Without Barriers, engaged young people with a care experience to not only advocate for but design and develop core elements of the service. A CREATE Young Consultant will co-facilitate the presentation.
Dr Susan Tregeagle is Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Senior Manager of Program Services at Barnardos Australia.
Findings of a study on characteristics of families prepared to adopt damaged children from care. The study covers twenty-six years of adoption practice in Australia.
Jessica Burke is a social worker with 12 years’ experience working with people with intellectual disability. She is the Team Leader of ARROS, service working with people with intellectual disability living on society’s fringe. For the past three years, ARROS has also been focusing on young people with disability exiting State Care.
Presentation focuses on practice elements that have proved effective in responding to negative life experiences and barriers to a good life faced by young people transitioning from out of home care and perceived to have developmental delay (due to intellectual disability, cognitive disability, mental health or trauma impact).
Workshops were held under the following themes:
Sue West leads a programme of work that informs early childhood policy, service delivery, professional practice and parenting and includes the award winning Raising Children Network in partnership with the Parenting Research Centre; translation and knowledge exchange projects; training and development activities; service systems innovation projects and policy related research.
This workshop, based on the findings to date of a multi-partner national project, will provide participants with a deeper understanding of what the evidence says about why the first 1000 days matter and will explore the implications for policy, practice and investment.
Wendy Bunston is a PhD candidate and associate teacher at La Trobe University. She managed the multi-award winning Addressing Family Violence Program. This program developed specialist group work interventions for children and their mothers. Wendy is a senior clinical social worker, and qualified Family Therapist and Infant Mental Health Clinician.
Specialist early intervention programs for infants impacted by family violence and homelessness are few in numbers. This is despite infants being the cohort of children most likely to be present during family violence, and at most risk. This workshop presents on what to do, why and where.
Lyn Stoker teaches in the Master of Family Studies. She is a social worker with experience in Government and with non-government organisations and has a strong interest in out-of-home care, trauma informed practice, developing support for families. She is especially interested in the voices of children and young people.
This interactive workshop will focus on challenges and strategies to improve family inclusion for children in OOHC. Children and young people in care can have a positive relationship with their family even if they don’t live together. Family inclusion is more than formal “contact”.
Dr Tim Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. He heads a small team with responsibility for monitoring, reviewing and synthesising research literature on a wide range of topics relating to child development, family functioning and service systems.
This interactive workshop will focus on ways of engaging families, especially those experiencing challenges. It will explore the fundamentals of relationship building, and will describe tools for having meaningful conversations with parents about concerns they may have about psychosocial factors affecting family functioning and / or about children’s development.
Karl Brettig is manager of Salisbury Communities for Children. Their initiatives include a family centre, an innovative parent and child playtime and a wellbeing classroom concept. He co-edited ‘Building Integrated Connections for Children their Families and Communities’ recently edited ‘Building Stronger Communities with Children and Families’.
How can we build stronger communities that enhance children’s development and wellbeing through early intervention and prevention? This workshop will explore approaches with elements including family activity centres, building caring communities and providing the scale and intensity of services that result in the supported becoming supporters.
Natalie Lewis is a proud descendent of the Kamilaroi and is the CEO of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak. Her professional experience is in the areas of youth justice and child protection, providing direct service, program and policy development and organisational leadership for 20 years.
Family Matters is about eliminating the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia’s child protection systems within a generation. This workshop invites participants to contribute to a vision of fundamental change to address child and family welfare systems that are failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
Monique Blom has experience in clinical interventions on issues of child development, child protection, Indigenous service provision and evaluation. She has experience working collaboratively with non-government, government and corporate bodies. Monique has 15 years’ experience, her skills include: strategic policy & program development, implementation and evaluation; stakeholder consultation; project management and clinical intervention.
The most effective way to transform an organisation’s capacity to protect children and young people from abuse and exploitation is through a thorough and systematic change management process. The process involves a number of interconnected activities, over four key stages: exploration, preparation, implementation and continuous improvement.
Dr Tim Moore is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Child Protection Studies. In 2014-6, Tim has managed a project for the Royal Commission focusing on children’s conceptualisations of safety and how to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.
Drawing on a Royal Commission funded project on children’s perceptions of safety within institutional contexts, this workshop will explore ways that strategies might be better developed and implemented around child-safe policies and practices. Participants will be provided with a series of tools developed with children to explore issues of safety and will consider the key themes they identified.
Karen Field is CEO of Drummond Street & Stepfamilies Australia where her team has built a reputation for delivery of evidence-based programs/services, contributing to research, evaluation and policy.
This workshop will examine the state of the evidence base for prevention and early intervention in family violence, and explore the use of emerging prevention science and contemporary technologies as a means to engage those at greater risk, with the aim of reducing or ameliorating family violence risk factors as couples transition to parenthood, and at the point of family separation/reformation.
Robyn Monro Miller is the CEO of Network of Community Activities. ‘Network’ has a long history of advocacy for children. Robyn has advocated at State, National and international level for the past 20 years and is Chair of the National Outside School Hours Association and Vice President of the International Play Association.
As the peak body for OSHC services in NSW, Network was confronted in the wake of the Royal Commission to support the OSHC sector improve their child safe practices. Let us take you on that journey- the challenges, strategies, resources and outcomes.
Gail Green is a professional social worker with forty years’ experience working with child and adult survivors of abuse and neglect. In addition Gail has worked with offenders; in her own private practice, and in consulting and training. Her current position helps survivors connect with the Royal Commission.
The Royal Commission’s findings are likely to make changes to daily work in child focused agencies. This workshop provides an opportunity to understand the issues raised and to consider auditing your agency in the light of this knowledge whilst ensuring that child safety stays at the forefront of the service.
A/Prof Geoff Woolcock is Wesley Mission Brisbane’s Manager of Research & Strategy and an Adjunct Associate Professor at QUT and Griffith University. He is particularly interested in building child-and youth-friendly communities. He is a board director of the Australian National Development Index (ANDI), Logan Child-Friendly Community Trust and Brisbane Housing Company.
While collective impact approaches to early intervention continue to attract increasing attention, there remain limited opportunities to share lessons learnt. With both the Logan Together and Go Goldfields collective impact initiatives now underway, this workshop will compare and contrast key issues and challenges in the implementation of both establishment phases.